Journal Article

Seasonal cycles in weight and condition in Atlantic cod (<i>Gadus morhua</i> L.) in relation to fisheries

L.G.S. Mello and G.A. Rose

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 62, issue 5, pages 1006-1015
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
Seasonal cycles in weight and condition in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua L.) in relation to fisheries

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  • Marine and Estuarine Biology


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Seasonal cycle in weight and physiological condition of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) influenced productivity and economic impacts of the cod fishery in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. Condition indices (Fulton's K condition factor and hepatosomatic index – HSI) were lowest during the spawning season (spring) and increased rapidly during the postspawning period, reaching maximum values by fall (K and HSI increased on average 24% and 82% between spring and fall, respectively). Somatic weight and condition indices varied seasonally. Condition indices were correlated with an industry index of product yield. Historically, cod fisheries have been prosecuted during all seasons, but simulations of 1997–1999 fisheries indicate that a fall fishery (period of peak physiological condition) resulted in a 8–17% decrease in the number of cod removed from the stock while maintaining the same weight-based quotas, and profiting from maximum yield and better product quality. Spring and summer fisheries resulted in lower yield (6%) and quality (5–26%) of fish products by weight. Seasonal biological cycles could be used as templates for management strategies that promote fisheries conservation and economic benefits by harvesting fish during periods when biological impacts are minimal and economic returns maximal.

Keywords: Atlantic cod; Fulton's K condition factor; harvesting strategy; hepatosomatic index; Placentia Bay; yield and quality indices; 3Ps

Journal Article.  5541 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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