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African Journal of Marine Science

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Depth-stratified density estimates and distribution of the Cape hake Merluccius capensis and M. paradoxus off Namibia deduced from survey data, 1990 – 1999

L-M Burmeister

Abstract


In this study demersal survey data for the period 1990–1999 are used to investigate the average distribution of the Cape hake Merluccius capensis and M. paradoxus off Namibia in terms of density and mean length. Further, biomass estimates are compared on the basis of depth and density stratification. The main distribution of M. capensis was north of 27°S and that of M. paradoxus south of 24°S. M. paradoxus was deeper than M. capensis. For both species, average length increased with depth. M. paradoxus expanded its range to the north through the 1990s as its population size (off South Africa and Namibia) increased. In Namibian waters, small M. paradoxus were found only south of 25°S. Mean length of M. capensis increased north of 21°S, largely as a result of decreased numbers of small fish in shallower water. Abundance estimates stratified by depth were no different from those post-stratified on similar densities.

Keywords: abundance, Cape hake, density estimates, distribution, Merluccius, Namibia

African Journal of Marine Science 2001, 23: 347–356



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