Distribution and population structure of the rockfish Helicolenus dactylopterus (Pisces: Scorpaenidae) in the western Mediterranean

Enric Massutí, Joan Moranta, L. Gil de Sola, B. Morales-Nin, Llucia Prats
2001 Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom  
The distribution and spatio^temporal variation of Helicolenus dactylopterus (Pisces: Scorpaenidae) population was studied from 816 bottom trawls developed along the Iberian coast. Multifactor analysis of variance was used to test the di¡erences in abundance and biomass and cluster analysis was applied to detect di¡erences in population structure. The results showed a bathymetric and latitudinal gradient in abundance and population structure along three geographic sectors in the surveyed area.
more » ... the southern area, the species was more frequent and showed a wider bathymetric distribution range than northwards. The depth range with the maximum frequency of occurrence was also wider in the southern area than northwards. Similar trends were observed in terms of abundance and biomass, with the highest and lowest indices in the southern and northern areas, respectively. The age composition of the catches showed that the population consisted mainly of young-of-the-year and juvenile ¢sh. This fraction of the population is well represented, at a mesoscale, along the whole surveyed area, but adults are well represented only at a local scale, at the deepest strata surveyed in the southern area. In this case, recruits of age 0 and juveniles up to 4-y old were restricted to depths shallower than 500 m, while adult ¢sh older than 6 y of age appeared below this depth. In the southern area, seasonal changes in the population structure were also observed, with modes of small ¢sh (3^6 cm) from March to June, as a consequence of the species recruitment to the bottom. Some direct and indirect factors of biogeographic, environmental and anthropogenic origin a¡ecting the observed gradient are discussed.
doi:10.1017/s0025315401003472 fatcat:crlgbtezd5bnzgwgexsb5j6tkm