Life-history traits and population decline of the Atlantic mackerel Scomber scombrusin the Adriatic Sea

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Abstract

This study investigated demographic structure and reproductive characteristics of the Atlantic mackerel Scomber scombrus, in relation to landing trends in the northern-central Adriatic Sea. Results highlighted the occurrence of only small-sized and young-age individuals, and a marked decline from the 1990s to the present in maximum age (from 8 to 3 years) and total length (LT; from 420 to 360 mm). Fecundity ranged between 40 000 and 190 000 eggs, and was related to female LT. High levels of atresia implied lower values of actual fecundity. Sexual maturity was attained by 72·8% of individuals in their first year of life at 200 mm. The reduction in maximum LT resulted in a marked decline in the population egg production, while the reduction in maximum age implied that females participated in fewer spawning events.

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