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Keywords:

  • Norway lobster;
  • ovarian maturation;
  • reproductive cycle

Abstract

The reproductive biology of female Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus was studied throughout an annual cycle from January to December 2007 in Pagasitikos Gulf, a large semi-enclosed Gulf in the central west Aegean Sea, in Greece. Six ovarian maturation stages were described to follow gonadal development, based on the combined external observation and histological examination of the ovary. Reproduction showed clear seasonality both in terms of ovarian maturation and brooding period. The proportion of fully mature females in the catch increased from January to the summer months with a peak in June. The species has a protracted brooding period that peaks in November and December, while the release of eggs from females' pleopods occurs from January to March. The size at which 50% of females reached sexual maturity was estimated, using a logistic model, to be 28.1 mm of carapace length. The undiscovered reproductive dynamics will be valuable for optimizing population models and management strategies for this important fishery resource.