Changes in fecundity in a stressed population: Northern cod (Gadus morhua) off Newfoundland

Changes in fecundity in a stressed population: Northern cod (Gadus morhua) off Newfoundland

S.B. Fudge and G.A. Rose

Changes in fecundity in a stressed population: Northern cod (Gadus morhua) off NewfoundlandThis is part of Resiliency of Gadid Stocks to Fishing and Climate Change
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Description

Recently determined relationships in stock fecundity off Newfoundland are compared with historical data from Newfoundland, Iceland, Norway, Baltic, and the North Sea and are used to establish baseline relationships between fecundity and size at age in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). A total of 200 prespawning female cod were sampled in 1999 and 2003 in three Northwest Atlantic management areas. For southern Newfoundland stocks that have fared relatively well in the 1990s and early 2000s, fecundity-size relationships did not differ from historical norms, although age at maturity was lower. In the highly stressed northern stock off Labrador, however, age at maturity was much lower than historical norms or in southern stocks, and fecundity much higher in small and young fish. Mortality rates were higher in the northern fish. We discuss these changes in the context of changed life histories and rebuilding in stressed gadoid stocks.

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