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Variation in fecundity in the lesser sandeel: implications for regional management

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 July 2010

Philip Boulcott*
Marine Scotland—Science, Marine Laboratory, PO Box 101, 375 Victoria Road, Aberdeen AB11 9DB, UK
Peter J. Wright
Marine Scotland—Science, Marine Laboratory, PO Box 101, 375 Victoria Road, Aberdeen AB11 9DB, UK
Correspondence should be addressed to: P. Boulcott, Marine Scotland—Science, Marine Laboratory, PO Box 101, 375 Victoria Road, Aberdeen AB11 9DB, UK email:


The number of eggs produced by a parental stock is central to fisheries advice on recruitment potential. However, stock based estimates of egg production may give a misleading index of recruitment potential in stocks containing several reproductively isolated populations. This paper examines the ability of length, condition and oocyte developmental stage to predict levels of potential fecundity in the sandeel, Ammodytes marinus, in three important fished areas in the North Sea. Our results indicate that regional variation in this relationship exists, with fecundity in central areas of the North Sea being higher than those found just off the north-east UK. Oocyte diameter was also found to have a significant effect on potential fecundity, suggesting a down-regulation of oocyte numbers arising from pre-ovulatory atresia, however, this effect was not apparent in every model tested. Our findings have relevance to the local sustainability of spawning components and thus the regional management of the North Sea sandeel stock.

Research Article
Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2010

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