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Stratification determines the fate of fish stocks in the Baltic Sea
Date:2/19/2014

and oxygen at different depths for the entire Baltic Sea." This enables the researchers, for any day over several weeks, to see how far the eggs were transported and whether they survived or fell victim to unfavorable conditions. "Because of their different density, the eggs and the initial larval stages of different species are distributed on different levels in the water column of the Baltic," Petereit summarizes. "But they all remain in the western Baltic and the Belt Sea. Farther east, the water is less salty, so that the eggs would sink to the ground where they could not survive. This means that stocks are not able to mix, at least not at this early stage of life. For cod, genetic analyses have shown that the eastern and western stocks are two separate groups. Petereit adds: "Our work provides a hypothesis for why there can't be any exchange between the two stocks."

The findings of the biologists and physicists are also relevant for fisheries management since they show that individual stocks of a species do not necessarily benefit from each other, and for example that one stock cannot recover from overfishing with the help of the other. Regulations must therefore take into account local specifics such as these and must evaluate stocks on their own, the research team concluded. Furthermore, it is important to monitor fish stocks in their various stages of life, to adapt their management to their actual distribution, and to check this regularly in order to properly respond to any changes.


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Contact: Maike Nicolai
mnicolai@geomar.de
49-431-600-2807
Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR)
Source:Eurekalert

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