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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 644:119-128 (2020)  -  DOI:

Growth and nutritional condition of anchovy larvae on the west and southeast coasts of South Africa

David Costalago1,*, Yanasivan Kisten2, Catriona Clemmesen3, Nadine A. Strydom2

1Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia. 2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
2Department of Zoology, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth 6031, South Africa
3GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, 24105 Kiel, Germany
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Cape anchovy Engraulis encrasicolus is an ecologically and economically important pelagic fish species occurring along the coast of South Africa. A recent eastward shift in Cape anchovy distribution indicates that environmental conditions are becoming more favorable for the species on the east coast. This shift is particularly important in the sheltered Algoa Bay region, a nursery area for fish larvae. However, the relatively low productivity of the Agulhas Current Large Marine Ecosystem on the eastern coast of South Africa may result in an anchovy population in poorer nutritional condition and with slower growth rates than the west coast population. Using otolith and nucleic acid analyses, the growth rates of anchovy larvae from the western and southeastern coasts of South Africa were compared. The otolith analysis results indicated that, at any given age, individual growth rates for anchovy larvae were higher on the southeast coast than on the west coast. The RNA:DNA values also indicated that instantaneous growth rates of anchovy larvae were higher in Algoa Bay than on the west coast. At the time of sampling, chlorophyll and zooplankton productivity were higher at sampling sites in Algoa Bay than sites on the west coast, potentially due to favorable oceanographic features in the bay. As such, the results suggest that Algoa Bay is a suitable and potentially favorable nursery area for the early stages of anchovy, highlighting the importance of separate management of the southeast coast region in a changing world.

KEY WORDS: Agulhas · Benguela · Cape anchovy · Nursery area · Otoliths · RNA:DNA

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Cite this article as: Costalago D, Kisten Y, Clemmesen C, Strydom NA (2020) Growth and nutritional condition of anchovy larvae on the west and southeast coasts of South Africa. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 644:119-128.

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