A model for the phenotypic plasticity of North sea herring growth in relation to trophic conditions
Laboratoire de mathématiques appliquées à l'exploitation des ressources halieutiques et aquacoles, rue de l'île d'Yeu, BP 21105, 44311 Nantes cedex 3, France
Accepted: 27 August 1998
An adaptation of the von Bertalanffy growth model is formulated to describe the phenotypic plasticity of fish somatic growth in relation to trophic conditions. The model is developed for the North sea Downs herring (Clupea harengus). It suggests that annual growth variability during 1974-1990 was mainly due to the combined effects of herring abundance and wind-induced turbulence (coincident with the spring stratification of the water column). Springtime turbulences cause reduced and delayed planktonic blooms preceding the annual foraging period of Downs herring. The negative relation observed between herring abundance and growth is hypothesized to be due to intra-specific competition for trophic resources. Incorporated into the calculation of yield per recruit, the established growth model provides slightly more optimistic diagnoses while dropping the classic assumption of constant weight at age.
Key words: Growth model / density dependence / phenotypic plasticity / fishery management / Clupea harengus / North sea herring
© Elsevier, IRD, Inra, Ifremer, Cemagref, CNRS, 1998