Size-dependent survival of European hake juveniles in the Mediterranean Sea

Most studies on European hake focus on the recruitment process and nursery areas, whereas the information is comparatively limited on the ecology of the juvenile stage (ca. second year of life)-the one most exploited by the Mediterranean trawl fisheries. Using information of the MEDITS programme, we provide a spatial and temporal assessment of the influence of body size and growth on hake survival from recruits (age 0) to juveniles (age 1), along with the impact of surface temperature and chlorophyll variability. At a biogeographic scale, size-dependent survival is supported, with areas with higher mean length of recruits and juveniles yielding higher survival. A similar pattern was observed at interannual level in some western Mediterranean areas, also mediated by a density-dependent effect on growth. However, the most recurrent inter-annual pattern was a negative effect of size on survival, which could be attributed to potential ontogenetic changes in catchability and underrepresentation of intra-annual recruitment pulses that are seasonally inaccessible to the MEDITS survey. Results also evidence that survival in the Alboran and Adriatic seas is dependent on the primary production variability, and that Corsica and Sardinia could be potential feeding grounds receiving juveniles from neighbouring areas. The present study reveals the importance of size- and growth-dependent survival in the juvenile stage of European hake in the Mediterranean Sea.


juvenile survival, European hake, Mediterranean Sea, size dependence

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Hidalgo Manuel, Ligas Alessandro, Maria Bellido Jose, Bitetto Isabella, Carbonara Pierluiggi, Carlucci Roberto, Guijarro Beatriz, Jadaud Angelique, Lembo Giuseppe, Manfredi Chiara, Esteban Antonio, Garofalo Germana, Ikica Zdravko, Garcia Cristina, Gil de Sola Luis, Kavadas Stefanos, Maina Irida, Sion Letizia, Vittori Stefania, Vrgoc Nedo (2019). Size-dependent survival of European hake juveniles in the Mediterranean Sea. Scientia Marina. 83 (S1). 207-221.,

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