Reconstructing the stock–recruit relationship for Northeast Arctic cod using a bioenergetic index of reproductive potential
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Correlation and simulation analyses suggest that, for the Northeast Arctic (NA) cod stock, the total lipid energy (TLE (kJ)) contained in the livers of mature females is proportional to total egg production, making TLE a potential predictor of recruitment. Accordingly, the TLE of NA cod was estimated for a 51-year time period (1946–1996), using estimates of numbers at length derived from virtual population analysis, modelled values of proportion mature and weight at length, and observed values of the liver-condition index. A significant linear relationship between TLE and recruitment to age 3 was observed. The temporal trend in TLE suggests that the reproductive potential of the NA cod stock has been in decline since the mid-1970s. A multiple-regression model that included TLE, mean temperature, and mean alongshore wind stress as independent variables explained approximately 43% of the variation in recruitment. Reconstructing stock–recruit relationships using more sensitive measures of reproductive potential is the first step in resolving environmental effects on recruitment and in developing biological reference points that are more effective in stock conservation.