Diel spatial distribution and feeding activity of herring (Clupea harengus) and sprat (Sprattus sprattus) in the Baltic Sea
Institute of Marine Research, National Board of Fisheries, P.O. Box 4, 45321, Lysekil, Sweden
Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 18 December 2002
We analysed Baltic Sea pelagic fish (herring and sprat) spatial and temporal distribution, size distribution at different depths and time of the day and diel feeding pattern. In 1995 the study area was investigated by acoustic survey for 3 d, 3, 4 and 11 October, to investigate spatial and temporal distribution of pelagic fish. The area was divided in four different transects forming a survey quadrate of 15 nautical miles of side. The survey quadrate was ensonified each day four times in the 24 h. In 1997 the acoustic survey was conducted in the same area and in the same week of the year to analyse the diel feeding cycle of herring and sprat and their size distribution by depth and time of the day using pelagic trawls. Fish abundance, from 1995 survey, was statistically different among days and survey quadrates. However, from our data it is not clear whether the variation stems from random dispersion or directed movements occurring at the temporal small-scale. Pelagic fish were dispersed during the night at the surface and aggregated during the day at the bottom. They aggregated at dawn and dispersed at dusk at the surface. For herring this distribution pattern coincided with peaks of stomach fullness analysed in the 1997 survey, while sprat seemed to continue feeding during the whole day time. Larger herring were deeper in the water column than smaller individuals. Diel vertical migrations (DVM) of pelagic fish likely mirrored zooplankton diel vertical movements and it was reasonably in response to optimal predation conditions in the sea and possibly intertwined with predation avoidance and bioenergetic optimisation.
Key words: Baltic Sea / Pelagic fish / Diel vertical migrations / Diel aggregation patterns / Feeding activity
© Elsevier, IRD, Inra, Ifremer, Cemagref, 2003