MEPS 269:297-301 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/meps269297

Solar activity governs abundance of Atlantic Iberian sardine Sardina pilchardus

Cástor Guisande1, *, Ana Ulla1, Peter Thejll 2

1Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Vigo, Lagoas-Marcosende, 36200 Vigo, Spain 2Climate Division, Danish Meteorological Institute, Lyngbyvej 100, 2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark

ABSTRACT: Annual sardine Sardina pilchardus landings from 1906 to 2002 off the northwest coast of the Iberian Peninsula vary according to solar activity. When the solar cycle is short, there is a trend towards increasing water transport onshore, which favours larval retention in areas close to the coast and, hence, sardine catches increase. However, when the solar cycle is longer, the trend is toward increasing water transport offshore, carrying eggs and larvae into areas where there is not enough food to survive and, therefore, decreasing sardine catches. These findings reveal the potential importance of solar activity on all biological process affected by coastal upwelling, including pelagic fisheries.

KEY WORDS: Climate change · Solar activity · Recruitment · Sardine

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