• Climate change;
  • El Niño-Southern Oscillation;
  • Kuroshio;
  • life-cycle model;
  • Pacific saury;
  • population dynamics;
  • sea surface temperature


A life cycle model for Pacific saury (Cololabis saira) was developed to clarify the possible causes of interannual and decadal variability in its abundance. In the model, the population of saury is composed of two spawning cohorts: one spawned in the Kuroshio region during autumn–winter and the other spawned in the Kuroshio-Oyashio Transition Zone during winter–spring. The life cycle of saury was divided into six stages: namely egg, larval, juvenile, young, immature and adult stages. The life cycle model combines growth, survival, fishing and reproductive processes, in which the effects of sea surface temperature (SST) in the Kuroshio region and El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events on the winter-spawning cohorts, the effects of SST in the Oyashio region on the spring-spawning cohorts, and the effects of fishing on the two spawning cohorts are taken into account. Results of basic modeling, in which environments are assumed stable and the stock is affected by fishing only, shows that the interannual fluctuations in the abundance are small and could hardly explain the observed large annual changes in abundance. On the contrary, results of modeling incorporating the effects of oceanic-climatic changes corresponded well with actual interannual-decadal variations in abundance. These results suggest the following environmental effects: (1) SST in the Kuroshio region affects decadal changes in abundance; (2) ENSO events influence the survival of the winter spawning cohort and result in large interannual variations in the abundance. It is concluded that large-scale climatic and oceanic changes strongly affect the abundance of saury.