Post-release predation on hatchery-reared Japanese flounder Paralichthys olivaceus in the coast of Fukushima, Japan


Author to whom correspondence should be addressed at present address: Soma Branch, Fukushima Prefectural Fisheries Experimental Station, Soma, Fukushima 976-0022, Japan. Tel.: +81 244 388042; fax: +81 244 386764; email:


To determine the predators of 100 mm total length hatchery-reared juvenile Japanese flounder Paralichthys olivaceus, fishes and crabs were collected using gillnets and a small trawl net off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. Predation on juvenile P. olivaceus by older conspecifics, the snailfish Liparis tanakai, ocellate spot skate Okamejei kenojei and the swimming crab Ovalipes punctatus, was detected based on analogical observation and molecular techniques. These predators are nocturnal feeders except for P. olivaceus. Liparis tanakai with body sizes large enough to consume juveniles only appeared in winter, whereas the large O. punctatus was abundant in early summer and in late autumn. Such seasonal variation in predator abundance indicates that the release season can be optimized for reducing predation mortality.