Journal Article

Growth, reproductive cycle, and movement of berried European lobsters (<i>Homarus gammarus</i>) in a local stock off southwestern Norway

Ann-Lisbeth Agnalt, Tore S. Kristiansen and Knut E. Jørstad

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 64, issue 2, pages 288-297
Published in print March 2007 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online November 2006 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsl020
Growth, reproductive cycle, and movement of berried European lobsters (Homarus gammarus) in a local stock off southwestern Norway

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Abstract

Agnatt, A-L., Kristiansen T. S., and Jorstad K. E. 2007. Growth, reproductive cycle, and movement of berried kuropean lobsters (Homarus gammarus) in a local stock off southwestern Norway. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 64: 288–297.

The Norwegian fishery for the European lobster (Homarus gammarus) collapsed between 1960 and 1980, to <10% of its pre-1960 level, and since then the spawning stock seems to be too low to generate good recruitment. In 1998, a project to evaluate the feasibility and effect of protecting berried female lobsters as a management restriction was initiated. The study area selected was previously an important fishing ground in Kvitsøy off southwestern Norway, and 125 000 hatchery-reared juveniles were released between 1990 and 1994. From spring 1998 to spring 2000, a total of 942 wild and 480 cultured berried females was purchased from fishers, individually tagged with a streamer-tag, and released. The proportion of berried females in the landings varied annually from 19 to 58% for wild females, and from 22 to 44% for cultured females. By spring 2000, 23% of the tagged females had been recaptured at least once, and 3% twice or more. Average moult increment was 7 mm carapace length (CL), independent of pre-moult size in both wild and cultured females. Reproduction (spawning) and growth (moulting) alternated in a 2 y cycle for >90% of the females. A small number moulted and spawned a few weeks after hatching. More than 95% of the recaptures were taken within a radius of 1 km of the release area. Egg production varied considerably between seasons. Reproductive potential (RP) of landed berried females underestimated egg production compared with what was actually produced (AE). For the entire period, RP was estimated to be about 15.0 million eggs, and AE to be 17.2 million eggs. Cultured females contributed 27% of AE. To reduce the fishing mortality in a heavily fished and depleted population is vital. A ban on landing berried females would be a valuable first step in attempting to increase the spawning biomass.

Keywords: egg production; European lobsters; growth; management; movement; reproduction

Journal Article.  5858 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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