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Research article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

The spawning strategy of European hake (Merluccius merluccius, L. 1758) across the Western and Central Mediterranean Sea

Carbonara, Pierluigi; Porcu, Cristina; Donnaloia, Marilena; Pesci, Paola; Sion, Letizia; Spedicato, Maria Teresa; Zupa, Walter; Vitale, Francesca; Follesa, Maria Cristina


The oocyte maturation and spawning pattern of European hake Merluccius merluccius, one of the most important species in the Mediterranean fishery, were investigated using data collected in a scientific trawl survey (Mediterranean International Trawl Survey, MEDITS) as well as commercial landing data collected in several geographical sub-areas (GSAs): the Southern and Central Tyrrhenian Sea (GSA10), Sardinia (GSA11), the Southern Adriatic Sea (GSA18) and the Western Ionian Sea (GSA19). The lack of the validation of macroscopic maturity scales is one impediment to obtaining reliable estimates of the reproductive parameters used to assess a fish stock. The MEDITS maturity scale was validated for female European hake by histological analysis of the oocyte diameter frequency distributions and according to the gonadosomatic index. The oocyte diameter frequency distributions and histological analysis confirmed that the ovarian organisation of hake was asynchronous, including a batch spawning pattern and indeterminate fecundity.Females in spawning condition were recorded throughout the year in all GSAs although the main peaks of spawning activity were in winter and in late summer and early autumn. The L-50 estimated for GSA10, GSA11, GSA18, GSA19 were 33.03 cm, 30.03 cm, 31.95 cm and 32.95 cm, respectively. Moreover, no significant trends in the annual estimate of 40 from 2007 to 2015 in any of the study areas were observed. Mean batch fecundity and relative fecundity (360,687 eggs/fish, 281.6 eggsg(-1) in GSA10, 361,311 eggs/fish, and 262.2 eggs g(-1) in GSA18) were higher than those reported in other Mediterranean areas.


Merluccius merluccius; Spawning strategy; Macroscopic maturity scale; Histology; Mediterranean Sea

Published in

Fisheries Research
2019, Volume: 219, article number: 105333
Publisher: ELSEVIER

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    Fish and Aquacultural Science

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