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Changes in growth of plaice Pleuronectes platessa L. and sole Solea solea (L.) in the North Sea
Rijnsdorp, A.D.; Van Beek, F.A. (1991). Changes in growth of plaice Pleuronectes platessa L. and sole Solea solea (L.) in the North Sea. Neth. J. Sea Res. 27(3-4): 441-457
In: Netherlands Journal of Sea Research. Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ): Groningen; Den Burg. ISSN 0077-7579, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Growth rate; Pleuronectes platessa Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; Solea solea (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; ANE, North Sea [Marine Regions]; Marine

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  • Rijnsdorp, A.D., more
  • Van Beek, F.A.

    The changes in growth of plaice and sole between 1957 and 1988, as estimated from samples of the commercial fishery and pre-recruit surveys, were analysed in order to study possible density dependent effects. Indices of potentially competitive biomasses of plaice and sole, based on Lloyd's index of mean crowding, were estimated from the average spatial distribution of various age groups during the summer growing period and from the population age structure as estimated by virtual population analysis. Growth of all age groups of sole increased in the 1960s and was stable in the 1970s and 1980s. In plaice only age groups 1 to 3 showed a similar increase in the 1960s, whereas the growth of 1-year-old plaice tended to decrease in the 1980s. Growth did not show a negative correlation with mean crowding, except in age group 1 of plaice and in age group 3+ of sole. It is concluded that these negative correlations do not provide unequivocal evidence for density dependent growth in plaice and sole, since they could equally well be caused by parallel but unrelated trends in time of one or more other factors. The simultaneous increase in growth in the 1960s of age groups of sole and plaice in the southern North Sea, and the absence of such an increase in age groups in the central North Sea, suggests that food availability must have increased in the southern North Sea. This inference is supported by several macrobenthos studies. Whether the reduced growth of 1-group plaice in the 1980s, when recruitment was well above the average level, is caused by density dependent growth or to a reduced food availability remains an open question.

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