MEPS 231:151-166 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/meps231151

Occurrence of jumbo flying squid Dosidicus gigas aggregations associated with the countercurrent ridge off the Costa Rica Dome during 1997 El Niño and 1999 La Niña

Taro Ichii1,*, Kedarnath Mahapatra2, Tomowo Watanabe3, Akihiko Yatsu4, Denzo Inagake1, Yoshihiro Okada5

1National Research Institute of Far Seas Fisheries, 5-7-1 Orido, Shimizu 424-8633, Japan
2Earth Weather Inc., 3-16-1, Shinyokohama, Kohoku-ku, Yokohama 222-0033, Japan
3Tohoku National Fisheries Research Institute, 3-27-5 Niihama, Shiogama 985-0001, Japan
4National Research Institute of Fisheries Science, 12-4 Fukuura 2-chome, Yokohama 236-8648, Japan
5Faculty of Marine Science and Technology, Tokai University, 20-1, Orido, Shimizu 424-8610, Japan

ABSTRACT: Factors responsible for aggregations of jumbo flying squid Dosidicus gigas, an important component of the marine food web and target of commercial fisheries off the Costa Rica Dome in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP), were examined during 2 years of different extreme oceanographic conditions: fall 1997 El Niño and fall 1999 La Niña. A high abundance of squid occurred in association with the well-developed countercurrent ridge (upwelling) off the Costa Rica Dome during fall 1997, but not during fall 1999, when the countercurrent ridge was less developed. Two features of the well-developed countercurrent ridge were considered important for the occurrence of high jumbo flying squid concentrations. Firstly, subsurface chlorophyll a (chl a) maxima were formed along the countercurrent ridge, resulting in integrated chl a concentrations in the upper 100 m being relatively high considering the generally low productivity of the ETP during an El Niño event. Secondly, a strong salinity front formed along the North Equatorial Countercurrent, which is possibly responsible for retention of jumbo flying squid in the ridge. Large yellowfin tuna Thunnus albacares, which mainly feed on micronekton (small fishes, cephalopods and swimming crabs), as do jumbo flying squid, were also more highly concentrated along the countercurrent ridge during 1997 than during 1999. It was noted that skipjack tuna Katsuwonus pelamis and small yellowfin tuna, which mainly feed on zooplankton, were associated with the equatorial ridge in the ETP, indicating that prey faunal components may also play an important part in the close association of jumbo flying squid with the countercurrent ridge.

KEY WORDS: Jumbo flying squid · Dosidicus gigas · El Niño · La Niña · Countercurrent ridge · Equatorial ridge · Yellowfin tuna · Skipjack tuna

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