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Life-history traits of walleye pollock, Theragra chalcogramma, in the northeastern Japan Sea during early to mid 1990s

Kooka, Kouji
Fisheries research 2012 v.113 no.1 pp. 35-44
temperature, marine fish, life history, Gadus chalcogrammus, fecundity, males, pollock, habitats, growth models, mortality, population growth, population size, body condition, females, Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska, Japan, Sea of Japan
I examined the age, growth, maturity, mortality, and body condition of walleye pollock, Theragra chalcogramma, in the northeastern Japan Sea (northern Japan Sea population) and evaluated their resilience to exploitation. Walleye pollock were collected in pre-spawning (October 1991–1995) and post-spawning (April 1990–1996) seasons. Estimated ages ranged from 3 to 18 years for both sexes. A von Bertalanffy growth model showed that females had longer asymptotic fork length (460mm) than males (425mm). Fifty percent of females and males were mature at 348mm (4.6 years) and 322mm (3.9 years), respectively. The instantaneous natural mortality rate was estimated to be 0.22. These life-history traits in the northern Japan Sea population were compared to those in the Bering Sea, the Gulf of Alaska, and the Japan Pacific populations. As a result, female walleye pollock in this population matured at small body sizes, grew rapidly toward small maximum sizes, and had short reproductive lifespans with low size-specific fecundity and poor body condition. Low prey availability and habitat temperatures are considered as a possible mechanism for the small maximum sizes in this population. The potential rate of population increase of both the northern Japan Sea population and other pollock populations tended to be lower than other exploited populations of non-viviparous marine fishes, suggesting potentially lower resilience to exploitation in this population and walleye pollock populations in general.