Age-structure-dependent recruitment: a meta-analysis applied to Northeast Atlantic fish stocks

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Exploitation alters the age structure of fish stocks. Several stock-specific studies have suggested that changes in the age structure might have consequences for subsequent recruitment, but the evidence is not universal. To investigate how common such effects are among 39 Northeast Atlantic fish stocks, relationships were tested between age structure (spawner mean age, age diversity, and proportion of recruit spawners) and recruitment (number of recruits, sensitivity to environment, and recruitment variability). Significant correlations in the expected direction were observed for a few stocks, but not for the majority; significant correlations in the opposite direction were also found. Meta-analyses combining the stock-level tests revealed that none of the effects were significant overall. However, effects were significant for some species (cod, haddock, and plaice) and indices. The low variability in the age structure might explain the absence of significant effects for individual stocks. Other reasons could be the absence of a biological basis (reproductive characteristics not dependent on age) or the stronger influence of environmental variability than of age structure on recruitment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1921-1930
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • cod gadus-morhua
  • pleuronectes-platessa l
  • spawning stock
  • reproductive success
  • spatial-distribution
  • maternal age
  • baltic cod
  • size
  • population
  • management


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