Fecundity of silver-phase eels (anguilla anguilla) from different habitat types and geographic locations
McCarthy, T. Kieran
Clevestam, Patrik D.
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MacNamara, Ruairí; McCarthy, T. Kieran; Wickström, Håkan; Clevestam, Patrik D. (2015). Fecundity of silver-phase eels (anguilla anguilla) from different habitat types and geographic locations. ICES Journal of Marine Science: Journal du Conseil 73 (1), 135-141
The reproductive ecology of European eel (Anguilla anguilla) is poorly understood, though information on life-history traits such as fecundity is necessary for appropriate management of this critically endangered species. During the growth period of the life cycle, yellow-phase eels can be resident in different habitat types (e.g. salinity ranging from freshwater to marine) over a wide geographic distribution. Consequently, maturing silver-phase eels migrating back to the oceanic spawning grounds can display considerable variation in certain life-history traits depending on their habitat and/or geographic origin. Few fecundity estimates are available from wild A. anguilla, and no investigation of the effects of habitat type (i.e. salinity) or geographic location on variation in fecundity has been undertaken. To assess the former, we examined silver-phase eels which had predominantly been resident in freshwater (Lake Malaren, Sweden) or brackish (Baltic Sea) habitats. Despite Lake Malaren eels generally being larger, there was no difference in the fecundity-body size relationship between these salinity zones. Second, we determined if fecundity differed between silver-phase eels sampled from different geographic locations: Lake Malaren and the Baltic Sea outlet in Sweden, the River Shannon in Ireland (northwest Europe) and Vistonis Lake in Greece (eastern Mediterranean). Our results showed that silver-phase eels from Sweden (Lake Malaren and Baltic Sea outlet) and Greece were significantly more fecund at a given body size than those from Ireland. Spawner models and conservation policies should therefore take account of eel geographic origin in particular when incorporating this life-history parameter.