Journal Article

Winter and spring changes in condition factor and energy reserves of wild cod compared with changes observed during food-deprivation in the laboratory

Jean-Denis Dutil, Yvan Lambert and Denis Chabot

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 60, issue 4, pages 780-786
Published in print January 2003 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2003 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1054-3139(03)00024-9
Winter and spring changes in condition factor and energy reserves of wild cod compared with changes observed during food-deprivation in the laboratory

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Atlantic cod were food-deprived for a period of 84 days at three temperatures (2, 6, 10°C), and changes in the liver, gonads and somatic weights, and muscle and liver water contents were monitored and compared with changes observed in wild cod over winter in the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Total lack of food during the period January–April would have caused condition to decline to a level at which very high mortality takes place. Actual changes in condition in wild cod were less than predicted from the laboratory experiments except during the period April–May at the onset of spawning. Thus, wild cod were able to meet part of the metabolic costs during winter through occasional feeding, as confirmed by stomach content data. We conclude that previous estimates of natural mortality associated with poor condition in spring were not biased by the selective mortality of poor-condition fish in winter.

Keywords: Atlantic cod; Gadus morhua; natural mortality; condition; energy; growth; maturation

Journal Article.  4868 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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