Trophodynamic control on recruitment success in Baltic cod : the influence of cannibalism

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Cod is the top piscivore predator in the Baltic Sea ecosystem. Based on stomach content data from 62427 cod collected during 1977-1994 and food consumption rates, cannibalism in the Eastern and Western Baltic cod stocks has been quantified using multispecies virtual population analysis. In the Eastern Baltic stock, depending on model assumptions, an average of 25-38% of the 0-group and 11-17% of the 1-group were removed by predation by adults. Thus, between age 0 and age 2 a year class may lose on average about 31% and 44% of the initial number as a result of cannibalism. Cannibalism is lower in the Western Baltic. On average, 19% of the 0-group and 9% of the 1-group are consumed per year, i.e. 24% of the initial cohort is eaten before reaching age 2. Predation was most intense in 1978-1984, a period with high juvenile abundance and large adult stock sizes in both areas. Subsequently, stock, recruitment, and cannibalism declined steadily until the early 1990s and then increased again. Problems identified in relation to data compilation and estimation procedure are discussed with respect to their impact on estimates of cannibalism and stock- recruitment relationships. (C) 2000 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.
Original languageEnglish
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)300-309
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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