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The importance of rivers as nursery grounds for 0- and 1-group flounder (Platichthys flesus L.) in comparison to the Wadden Sea
Kerstan, M. (1991). The importance of rivers as nursery grounds for 0- and 1-group flounder (Platichthys flesus L.) in comparison to the Wadden Sea. Neth. J. Sea Res. 27(3-4): 353-366
In: Netherlands Journal of Sea Research. Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ): Groningen; Den Burg. ISSN 0077-7579, more
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  • Kerstan, M.

    From May 1988 to June 1989 selected areas of the German Wadden Sea, the Ems, Weser, Elbe and Eider estuaries as well as in Elbe tributaries were sampled for 0- and 1-group flounder (Platichthys flesus L.). Estuarine and Wadden Sea sampling was conducted on board commercial shrimp vessels equipped with beam trawls. The Elbe river system was sampled on board a research boat equipped with a similar 3-m beam trawl. Density indices were calculated for the various areas. To estimate the importance of rivers as nursery areas for flounder, river surface area was compared to the area of tidal flats in the Wadden Sea. In all surveys, there was no relationship between fish densities and tow directions with respect to tide. In the Elbe river system flounder densities were not correlated to substrate types but increased significantly with decreasing salinity. Abundances were always lowest in polyhaline habitats and increased up to 10-fold in mesohaline estuarine areas. In the limnetic tidal sections of the Elbe river and its tributaries densities increased again by factors of 3 to 10. The succession of 1-group modal lengths trom limnetic to polyhaline habitats demonstrated that smaller fish preferred less saline waters. 0-group specimens lagging behind in growth did not leave the limnetic river section in winter. The onset of the spawning migration in November was determined by monitoring the length-frequency distributions throughout the year. The possible sources of bias are discussed and gear efficiency is estimated from literature sources. The contribution of rivers to the 0- and 1-group flounder population on the tidal flats of the Wadden Sea is estimated at about 35.1%.

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