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ICES Journal of Marine Science
Year: 2009  |  Volume: 66  |  Issue: 6  |  Page No.: 1289 - 1295

Seasonal differences in the vertical distribution pattern of Japanese jack mackerel, Trachurus japonicus: changes according to age?

T Nakamura and A. Hamano    

Abstract:

Nakamura, T., and Hamano, A. 2009. Seasonal differences in the vertical distribution pattern of Japanese jack mackerel, Trachurus japonicus: changes according to age? – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 66: 1289–1295.

The Japanese jack mackerel, Trachurus japonicus, is commercially and ecologically one of the most important fishery resources in Japanese waters. A clear understanding of the age-dependent, vertical distribution pattern is important for the effective and sustainable management of this resource. In this study, acoustic surveys were conducted from June to November 2001 in the western Sea of Japan to clarify seasonal differences. The survey area included a number of artificial reefs at depths >100 m. To identify fish species and determine the characteristics of the water column, simultaneous biological sampling and oceanographic surveys were carried out. The vertical distribution of Japanese jack mackerel varied with their age and size and between seasons. In June and July, aggregations of juvenile (age 0; <10 cm in length) Japanese jack mackerel were found in a layer between 20 and 50 m deep associated with a temperature range of 19–21°C. However, the age-0 aggregations were not observed from August to November. Conversely, the age-1+ schools aggregated around the artificial reefs when the temperature was <19°C. It is suggested that there are seasonal differences in the vertical distribution pattern between the early life and adult stages of Japanese jack mackerel. Because of the different vertical distributions of these life stages, acoustic backscatter information is useful for determining the age of the observed fish.

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