The dynamics of 0-group herring Clupea harengus and sprat Sprattus sprattus populations along the Norwegian Skagerrak coast
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OriginalversjonFrontiers in Marine Science. 2022, 9, 831500. 10.3389/fmars.2022.831500
Coastal areas are important habitats for early life stages of many fish species. These habitats are used as nursery grounds and can provide a significant contribution to the recruitment of a fish population. In 1919, standardized sampling with a beach seine along the Norwegian Skagerrak coastline was established mainly to target 0-group fish. Here, we focus on Atlantic herring and European sprat to explore whether inter-annual variability in the abundance of these species is indicative of variability in recruitment. We investigated if the abundance of 0-group herring and sprat are affected by environmental factors. Further, the beach seine abundance indices were compared with recruitment estimates of neighboring stocks. There was a clear correlation between herring and sprat abundance in the beach seine samples. While sprat abundance was mainly affected by environmental factors such as temperature and current drift, herring abundance was positively affected by the recruitment of the neighboring stock of western Baltic spring spawners. One plausible explanation could be that sprat recruit to a more local component, while herring of the neighboring stock utilize the Skagerrak coastline as nursery grounds. This study demonstrates the importance of long time series and can provide new insight into the dynamics and structure of multiple fish species.