Availability of horse mackerel (Trachurus trachurus) in the north-eastern North Sea, predicted by the transport of Atlantic water


* Correspondence. e-mail: morten@imr.no


One of the clearest relationships between a single marine climate variable and fisheries yield is found between the transport of Atlantic water into the North Sea in the winter and catches of horse mackerel (Trachurus trachurus L.) in the northern North Sea 6 months later. A three-dimensional numerical model, the NORWegian ECOlogical Model system (NORWECOM), has estimated this inflow during the winter from 1976 to 2000, which is strongly correlated with the Norwegian fleet's catch of horse mackerel (r2 = 0.70) in the following autumn. It is hypothesized that a large influx of this relatively warm and nutrient rich water during the winter may support an early spawning of zooplankton and high biological production during the spring and summer. This might be the biological reason for a large fraction of the horse mackerel stock migrating into the North Sea during strong inflows.