MEPS 366:209-217 (2008)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07522

Determinants of mean length at age of spring spawning herring off the coast of Hokkaido, Japan

Yoshiro Watanabe1, Gjert E. Dingsør2,6,*, Yongjun Tian3, Iori Tanaka4, Nils C. Stenseth2,5

1Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo, 1-15-1 Minamidai, Nakano-ku, Tokyo 164-8639, Japan
2Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biology, University of Oslo, PO Box 1066 Blindern,  0316 Oslo, Norway
3Japan Sea National Fisheries Research Institute, Fisheries Research Agency (FRA), 1-5939-22, Suidou-cho, Niigata
951-8121, Japan
4Hokkaido Central Fisheries Experiment Station, 238 Hamanaka-cho, Yoichi-cho, Hokkaido 046-8555, Japan
5Institute of Marine Research, Flødevigen Marine Research Station, 4817 His, Norway
6Present address: Institute of Marine Research, PO Box 1870 Nordnes, 5817 Bergen, Norway
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: The stock of Hokkaido spring spawning herring Clupea pallasii collapsed in the middle of the 20th century. In the first half of the 20th century, large amounts of spawning herring were caught by set nets at coastal spawning grounds off the coast of Hokkaido, Japan. Using the catch data, we analyzed the mean length at age with respect to sea-surface temperature and density-dependent growth during the years 1910 to 1954 by generalized additive modeling (GAM). This stock is distributed at the southern boundary of the distribution range of Pacific herring, and we thus hypothesized that high temperatures have a negative effect on growth. Our study shows that length of Hokkaido spring spawning herring is highly dependent on growth during the first years of life and on temperatures preceding and during the feeding season. Higher temperatures during winter have a negative effect on growth. We found only weak indications of density-dependent growth in the stock of Hokkaido spring spawning herring.


KEY WORDS: Clupea pallasii · Hokkaido herring · Growth · GAM · Generalized additive modeling


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Cite this article as: Watanabe Y, Dingsør GE, Tian Y, Tanaka I, Stenseth NC (2008) Determinants of mean length at age of spring spawning herring off the coast of Hokkaido, Japan. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 366:209-217. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps07522

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