Spawning of herring: day or night, today or tomorrow?
Department of Fisheries and Marine Biology, Bergen High-Technology Centre, University of Bergen, 5020, Bergen, Norway
2 Institute of Marine Research, P.O. Box 1870 Nordnes, 5817, Bergen, Norway
Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 20 December 2002
Diel variations in schooling patterns and spatial dynamics during spawning were studied in Norwegian spring-spawning herring (Clupea harengus) off south-western Norway by acoustic surveying, diel cycle experiments and school tracking by sonar, and bottom gillnet sampling. Herring formed horizontally extensive, loosely packed demersal layers shortly after darkness. At night, the fish disappeared in the acoustic dead zone, but lifted off the bottom early in the following mornings. At daytime the herring reorganised into dense pelagic schools. The evening descent to the spawning habitat was considered as part of a precautionary strategy towards visual predators, as the bottom is a high-risk zone for archetypal pelagic fish like herring. Large numbers of gadoids, which are potential herring predators, were present in the area. Herring not ready to spawn dominated the bottom samples in 4 out of 5 days, suggesting that pre-spawning herring followed the descent of ripe herring. The herring spawning layers shifted in a south-easterly direction from day to day in diel spawning waves.
Key words: Acoustics / Schooling dynamics / Timing of spawning / Herring
© Elsevier, IRD, Inra, Ifremer, Cemagref, 2003