Journal Article

Diets of herring, mackerel, and blue whiting in the Norwegian Sea in relation to <i>Calanus finmarchicus</i> distribution and temperature conditions

Irina Prokopchuk and Evgeniy Sentyabov

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 63, issue 1, pages 117-127
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
Diets of herring, mackerel, and blue whiting in the Norwegian Sea in relation to Calanus finmarchicus distribution and temperature conditions

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  • Environmental Science
  • Marine and Estuarine Biology


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Diets of Norwegian spring-spawning herring, mackerel, and blue whiting in the Norwegian Sea are investigated in relation to the distribution of plankton and hydrographic conditions. Fish stomachs and zooplankton samples were collected during summer (June and July) cruises in 2001 and 2002. Calanus finmarchicus was the principal prey of mackerel, accounting for 53–98% of total stomach content by weight. The diet composition of herring varied depending on feeding area and availability of food under various environmental conditions. C. finmarchicus was important prey for herring only in July 2001 (about 77% by weight) in the central part of the sea and in June 2002 (about 82% by weight) near the Lofotens. In July 2002 appendicularians (Oikopleura spp.), amphipods (mainly Parathemisto abissorum), and euphausiids were important in the diet of herring, and at some stations cannibalism was observed. The main prey of blue whiting were amphipods (10–34% by weight), appendicularians (11–34%), and euphausiids (8–47%), as they usually feed deep in the water column, though C. finmarchicus was important, particularly in June 2002, when blue whiting were caught in the upper layers of the sea. Higher water temperatures indirectly affect pelagic fish through accelerated development of their prey and favourable conditions for migration farther north.

Keywords: blue whiting; Calanus finmarchicus; diet; environmental conditions; herring; mackerel; Norwegian Sea

Journal Article.  4669 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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