African Journal of Marine Science

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Merluccius capensis spawn in Namibian waters, but do M. paradoxus?

P Kainge, OS Kjesbu, A Thorsen, AG Salvanes


Spawning time and areas, and the length of the spawning season of shallow-water (Merluccius capensis) and deepwater (M. paradoxus) hake, were investigated from bottom trawl collections taken in Namibian waters between September 1998 and October 2000 and from August to November 2001. The gonadosomatic index (GSI) and the incidence of advanced maturity stages of M. paradoxus were low along the entire coast throughout the year, but with a few exceptions in the south (between Lüderitz and Orange River). By contrast, M. capensis spawn in the area throughout the year, but mainly between July and October. Evaluating the accuracy of visual maturity staging by comparing results with those of image and histological analyses revealed few errors in classifications of maturity stage in the field, with the exception of Stage 5 (spent and resting) in M. paradoxus. Specific GSI values were intercalibrated with the appearance of developing oocytes. As the GSI is quickly estimated, this new concept, designated here as a ‘maturity reference line', could enhance understanding of the spawning biology of other species with a similarly complex, indeterminate spawning strategy. It is concluded that M. paradoxus do not appear to spawn in Namibian waters.

Keywords: GSI, hake, image analysis, maturity staging, Namibia, spawning time

African Journal of Marine Science 2007, 29(3): 379–392
AJOL African Journals Online