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African Journal of Marine Science

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A 21-year ichthyoplankton collection confirms sardine spawning in KwaZulu-Natal waters

AD Connell

Abstract


Pelagic eggs of marine fish were collected weekly from shelf waters at Park Rynie on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast from 1987 to 2007 to investigate seasonal and annual patterns in the abundance of sardine Sardinops sagax eggs. After a sudden appearance in June each year, sardine eggs were found persistently throughout the winter–spring period before disappearing in early summer. From changes in the cross-shelf distribution of eggs, it is inferred that sardine shoals are close inshore in June, as they arrive in KwaZulu-Natal waters from the south, then the shoals disperse offshore and thereafter return inshore before their return migration southward in early summer. The period 2001–2007 yielded significantly fewer eggs than the previous 14 years  of the study.

Keywords: ichthyoplankton, sardine, Sardinops sagax, spawning

African Journal of Marine Science 2010, 32(2): 331–336



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