Journal Article

Application and validation of otolith microstructure as a stock identification method in mixed Atlantic herring (<i>Clupea harengus</i>) stocks in the North Sea and western Baltic

L. A. W. Clausen, D. Bekkevold, E. M. C. Hatfield and H. Mosegaard

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 64, issue 2, pages 377-385
Published in print March 2007 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2007 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsl036
Application and validation of otolith microstructure as a stock identification method in mixed Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) stocks in the North Sea and western Baltic

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Clausen, L. A. W., Bekkevold, D., Hatifield, E. M. C., and Mosegard, H. 2007. Application and validation of otolith microstructure as a stock identification method in mixed Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) stocks in the North Sea and western Baltic. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 64: 377–385.

Herring (Clupea harengus) populations with different spawning times mix in ICES Division IIIa. For stock assessment, otolith microstructure analysis is used to determine the hatching season of individuals, classifying them into hatch type spring, autumn, or winter. The currently applied method uses visual inspection of season-specific daily increment pattern for the larval period. With this method, variability in individual microstructure and a lack of correspondence between hatch and spawning time may lead to classification error. We validate the visual inspection procedure in relation to these potential sources of error. Otoliths from spawning herring were first classified blindly and the results compared with spawning season. In all, 91% of classifications corresponded, and errors represented misclassifications mainly between autumn and winter spawners. However, the estimates may be biased if hatch and spawning times differ, and an objective method of hatch-time estimation based on linear modelling was employed, enumerating unbroken series of daily increments in 0-group herring hatched in different seasons. Visual inspection and objective estimation agreed in 89% of cases, and most of the errors were explained by overlapping hatch periods. Results show that herring older than the 0-group can be classified using multiple linear regression of hatch time on median increment width.

Keywords: fisheries management; herring assessment; otolith microstructure; stock identification; strayers

Journal Article.  6659 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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