The use of spawning stock biomass as a direct measure of reproductive potential may not be valid because of age-or size-specific differences in fecundity and the effect of maternal size and condition on offspring viability. In this study, we examine the potential significance of these effects using modelled Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) populations. We quantify how changes in the age composition of the spawning stock, due to a range of fishing pressures and under different stock-recruitment relationships, could influence the reproductive output. Quantitative comparisons were made between a "standard" population where all age-classes only suffer natural instantaneous mortality (M = 0.2) and populations that suffer increasing levels of fishing pressure (F = 0.0-1.0). The results of the modelling exercise suggests that if the effects of the loss of more fecund older/larger individuals in the population are not considered, the number of potential recruits produced by populations under higher levels of fishing mortality could be overestimated by as much as 60%. When age/size-related maternal effects on egg viability are also considered, the amount of potential recruits can be overestimated by a further 10% in the heavily exploited populations.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences|
|Publication status||Published - 1999|