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Summary

The annual reproduction cycle of gilt sardine, Sardinella aurita, based on gonad maturity stages, gonad weight and gonadosomatic index was the subject of this study. A total of 2033 gilt sardines (983 males, 1021 females and 29 undetermined) were analysed. Fish were collected monthly from commercial purse seiners between November 2007 and January 2009 in the eastern middle Adriatic Sea (mesh size 8 mm/bar length/; sampling: five boats per month). Based on the monthly evolution of gonad maturation stages, gonad weights and gonadosomatic index, the peak spawning season was determined to be from June to August. Variations in sea surface temperature (SST) coincided with monthly variations of the gonadosomatic index. Highest monthly average values for both analysed parameters were recorded in July (GSI = 3.38; T = 26.5°C). Fifty per cent (L50) of males and females reached sexual maturity at TL 15.8 cm and at 16.6 cm, respectively. Absolute fecundity ranged from 8458 to 48 032 (mean 34 565 ± 10 310), whereas relative fecundity was from 171 to 722 (mean 385 ± 104.35). Mean value of the oocyte size was 0.53 ± 0.10 mm.