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African Journal of Marine Science

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Assessment of the food available to cape anchovy during their spawning season

AJ Richardson, HM Verheye, JG Field, SM Payne, E Wright

Abstract


The Cape anchovy Engraulis capensis spawns serially between September and February each year on the western Agulhas Bank, South Africa. Food availability in terms of copepod biomass is important for successful
spawning and subsequent recruitment. This note investigates the variability within a spawning season (1993/94 and 1994/95) of copepod biomass on the western Bank and demonstrates that the food available to the Cape
anchovy cannot be adequately assessed by a single mid-season estimate, as was the previous sampling strategy. The mid-season estimate of food availability failed to reveal important fluctuations, such as the small biomass of copepods in January 1994, which contributed to the early cessation of spawning and subsequent poor recruitment in 1994. A strategy, based on monthly sampling, is recommended for future sampling programmes.



AJOL African Journals Online