African Journal of Marine Science

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Stock-environment recruitment analysis for Namibian Cape hake Merluccius capensis

P Kainge, N Bahamon, CH Bartholomae, JN Kathena, AK van der Plas, A Gordoa


The factors modulating recruitment success of Cape hake Merluccius capensis in Namibian waters are still unresolved. In this study, we used generalised additive models, regression tree analysis and the conventional Ricker model to examine the effect of environmental indices and spawning stock biomass (SSB) on hake recruitment success for the period 1984–2012. Results indicated that upwelling strength explained 51% of the recruitment variability, whereas SSB had no significant influence. The effect of SSB on recruitment only became significant when combined with upwelling strength, explaining 89% of the recruitment variability. SSB influenced recruitment during periods of strong upwelling. Optimal conditions for hake recruitment were associated with moderate upwelling strength. Low and high upwelling intensities reduced recruitment success. Our results are consistent with those of other studies suggesting a significant influence of environmental conditions on recruitment at a low spawning stock level. Our study highlights the importance of assessing the combined non-linear effects of both biotic and abiotic factors on hake recruitment.

Keywords: generalised additive models, sea surface temperature, spawning-stock biomass, upwelling indices

African Journal of Marine Science 2013, 35(4): 555–564
AJOL African Journals Online