Implications of density-dependent juvenile growth for compensatory recruitment regulation of haddock
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Data from bottom trawl surveys conducted by Canada and the United States were used to describe temporal trends in the length of haddock ages 1–4 on the southwestern Scotian Shelf (SWSS) and Bay of Fundy. From 1970 to 1995, the length of juvenile (age-1) haddock on the SWSS was negatively correlated with the abundance of adults (age-4+). Within year-classes temporal trends in juvenile length persisted through to the adult stage such that yearclasses that were small(large) at age-1 were small(large) at age-4. These two results were combined with the positive correlation observed between recruitment and the body size characteristics of haddock on the SWSS in a conceptual model of compensatory recruitment regulation. In the model high adult abundance decreases growth of juveniles leading to smaller-sized adults and subsequently lower recruitment. Conversely, low adult abundance results in increased growth of juveniles leading to larger adults and higher recruitment. Density-dependent growth of juveniles, combined with the positive correlation between recruitment and adult body size, constitutes a compensatory mechanism for adjusting future haddock recruitment according to present adult abundance.