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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 319:225-235 (2006)  -  doi:10.3354/meps319225

Growth-dependent recruitment of Pacific bluefin tuna Thunnus orientalis in the northwestern Pacific Ocean

Yosuke Tanaka*, Keisuke Satoh, Masayuki Iwahashi, Harumi Yamada

National Research Institute of Far Seas Fisheries, 5-7-1 Orido, Shimizu, Shizuoka City 424-8633, Shizuoka, Japan

ABSTRACT: To estimate the survival process of Pacific bluefin tuna Thunnus orientalis during the larval period, estimated growth histories were compared between larvae collected in late spring and juveniles collected in the boreal summer of 2004, which were considered to be survivors of the larval cohorts. Larval tuna (3.3 to 9.6 mm standard length, SL) were collected from mid-May to early June around the Ryukyu Islands, northwestern Pacific Ocean, and juvenile tuna were collected offshore of Kochi and Nagasaki prefectures in July-August. Preflexion, flexion and postflexion larvae were collected, and their ages ranged from 4 to 18 d. Back-calculated SLs by the biological intercept method showed that larval tuna in the postflexion phase were larger-at-age than preflexion and flexion larvae, suggesting that only larger and faster growing larvae were able to survive to the postflexion phase. The logarithms of otolith radii (ln OR: proportional to SL) of larvae with slower growth and development were smaller than the minimum ln OR of surviving juvenile tuna, which indicated the smallest possible size required for larvae to successfully recruit to the fishery. These results indicate that the survival of larvae of Pacific bluefin tuna depends largely on size and growth rates during early life history.

KEY WORDS: Growth · Survival · Recruitment · Otolith · Pacific bluefin tuna

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