We investigate whether a process-oriented approach based on the results of field, laboratory, and modelling studies can be used to develop a stock-environment-recruitment model for Central Baltic cod (Gadus morhua). Based on exploratory statistical analysis, significant variables influencing survival of early life stages and varying systematically among spawning sites were incorporated into stock-recruitment models, first for major cod spawning sites and then combined for the entire Central Baltic. Variables identified included potential egg production by the spawning stock, abiotic conditions affecting survival of eggs, predation by clupeids on eggs, larval transport, and cannibalism. Results showed that recruitment in the most important spawning area, the Bornholm Basin, during 1976-1995 was related to egg production; however, other factors affecting survival of the eggs (oxygen conditions, predation) were also significant and when incorporated explained 69% of the variation in 0-group recruitment. In other spawning areas, variable hydrographic conditions did not allow for regular successful egg development. Hence, relatively simple models proved sufficient to predict recruitment of 0-group cod in these areas, suggesting that key biotic and abiotic processes can be successfully incorporated into recruitment models.
|Journal||Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences|
|Publication status||Published - 2001|