Application of the daily egg production method to Baltic sprat

Haslob, Holger GND; Hauss, H.; Hinrichsen, Hans-Harald; Voss, Rüdiger; Böttcher, Uwe GND; Kraus, Gerd GND

Baltic sprat (Sprattus sprattus balticus, Schneider 1908) is a key species in the Baltic Sea ecosystem, where it is the most abundant planktivorous fish. In the present study, we applied the daily egg production method (DEPM) for the years 1999–2008 to estimate the size of the stock component reproducing in the Bornholm Basin, a major spawning ground for sprat and cod. This is the first study assessing this stock with a fishery independent egg production method for a consecutive time series of ten years. DEPM stock size estimates were compared with those obtained by a multi species virtual population analysis for the same stock component and results from an acoustic survey. In general, the results obtained by the DEPM were in the same order of magnitude compared to the other methods and most similar to the acoustic estimate. However, in some years differences between methods were substantial. With respect to previous egg production methods to assess Baltic sprat stock components our approach takes several aspects into account which were ignored before, e.g. effect of ambient temperature range on sprat egg stage duration and mortality and interannual variability of adult stock parameters. Since the accurate determination of the daily spawning fraction bears major uncertainties, different scenarios were tested for this parameter. Least deviation compared to the other assessment methods was obtained when using a daily female spawning fraction of 24%, which corresponds well to values described in literature. The applicability of the DEPM to Baltic sprat was clearly demonstrated. Thus, it can serve as valuable tool for the estimation of Baltic sprat stock sizes independent of data obtained from commercial fisheries

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Haslob, Holger / Hauss, H. / Hinrichsen, Hans-Harald / et al: Application of the daily egg production method to Baltic sprat. 2012.

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