A review of the possible impacts of long-term oceanic and climate changes and fishing mortality on recruitment of anguillid eels of the Northern Hemisphere

Knights, B. 2003. A review of the possible impacts of long-term oceanic and climate changes and fishing mortality on recruitment of anguillid eels of the Northern Hemisphere. Science of the Total Environment. 310 (1-3), pp. 237-244.

TitleA review of the possible impacts of long-term oceanic and climate changes and fishing mortality on recruitment of anguillid eels of the Northern Hemisphere
AuthorsKnights, B.
Abstract

Possible causes of declines in recruitment of European, American and Japanese eels to continental waters are reviewed. Negative correlations between the Den Oever glass eel recruitment index (DOI) and the North Atlantic Oscillation Index since 1938 are discussed, together with older anecdotal evidence. Correlations are established between the DOI and sea surface temperature anomalies at 100-250 m between 1952 and 1995 in the Sargasso Sea/Sub-Tropical Gyre (STG) spawning area. It is hypothesised that, associated with global warming trends, STG warming inhibits spring thermocline mixing and nutrient circulation, with negative impacts on productivity and hence food for leptocephalus larvae. Concurrent gyre spin-up also affects major currents and slowing of oceanic migration has probably enhanced starvation and predation losses. Local factors, such as unfavourable wind-driven currents, can also affect recruitment of glass eels on continental shelves. In contrast, evidence is discussed that indicates fishing mortality and continental climate change appear to have had lesser impacts. Similar starvation-advection explanations for declines in Japanese eel recruitment are proposed. Predictions for the future are made and multidisciplinary and integrated monitoring and research are recommended for managing eel stocks and fisheries.

KeywordsAnguilla spp., Larval recruitment, NAOI, Oceanography, Climate change, Sub-tropical gyres, Sargasso Sea, Gulf Stream, Kuroshio Current
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Journal citation310 (1-3), pp. 237-244
ISSN0048-9697
Year01 Jul 2003
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/S0048-9697(02)00644-7
Publication dates
Published01 Jul 2003

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