MEPS 388:221-234 (2009)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08125

Effect of environmental variability and spawner characteristics on the recruitment of Baltic herring Clupea harengus populations

Massimiliano Cardinale1,*, Christian Möllmann2, Valerio Bartolino3, Michele Casini1, Georgs Kornilovs4, Tiit Raid5, Piotr Margonski6, Anna Grzyb6, Jari Raitaniemi7, Tomas Gröhsler8, Juha Flinkman9

1Institute of Marine Research, Swedish Board of Fisheries, PO Box 4, 45321 Lysekil, Sweden
2Institute for Hydrobiology and Fisheries Science, University of Hamburg, Grosse Elbstrasse 133, 22767 Hamburg, Germany
3Department of Animal and Human Biology, University of Rome La Sapienza, Viale dell´universita 32, 00185 Rome, Italy
4Latvian Fish Resources Agency, Daugavgrivas Str. 8, 1048 Riga, Latvia
5European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC), Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen, Maritime Affairs Unit, 21027 Ispra, Italy
6Sea Fisheries Institute, ul. Kollataja 1, 81-332 Gdynia, Poland
7Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, Turku Game and Fisheries Research, Itäinen Pitkäkatu 3, 20520 Turku, Finland
8Federal Research Centre for Fisheries, Institute for Baltic Sea Fisheries, Alter Hafen Süd 2, 18069 Rostock, Germany
9Finnish Institute of Marine Research, PO Box 2, 00561 Helsinki, Finland

ABSTRACT: We analyzed recruitment–environment relationships for 5 distinct Baltic Sea herring stocks inhabiting the areas of the Western Baltic (WBH), the Main Basin (MBH), the Gulf of Riga (GRH), the Bothnian Sea (BSH) and the Bothnian Bay (BBH). A number of hydro-climatic and biological predictors were tested for their effect on recruitment. Temperature was determined to be an important predictor for 3 of the stocks (MBH, GRH and BSH). However, spawning stock biomass was the major factor explaining recruitment for GRH and weight-at-age of the spawners was an important predictor of MBH recruitment. For 2 out of 4 stocks for which complete zooplankton data were available (BSH and MBH), food supply was also a significant predictor, suggesting that changes in climate and/or food web structure may indirectly affect herring recruitment via prey availability for the recruits or spawners. Our results emphasize both similarities and differences in the main regulators of recruitment dynamics for the 5 stocks that should be taken into consideration in the development of area-specific management strategies throughout the Baltic Sea basin.


KEY WORDS: Baltic Sea herring · Recruitment · Spawner effects · Climate · Spatial differences


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Cite this article as: Cardinale M, Möllmann C, Bartolino V, Casini M and others (2009) Effect of environmental variability and spawner characteristics on the recruitment of Baltic herring Clupea harengus populations. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 388:221-234. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08125

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