U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version



Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science 3:324–335, 2011


U.S. Government Work


Trade-offs in energy allocation between growth and reproduction can result in variations in reproductive potential in fish with differing growth patterns. Spawning biomass is often used as a proxy for reproductive potential on the assumption that fecundity is directly proportional to body weight. We examined variations in the reproductive potential of Atka mackerel Pleurogrammus monopterygius by studying the effect of differential growth and condition patterns on fecundity, atresia, and egg energy. Fecundity and egg energy were determined for fish from two geographic areas, Seguam Pass and Amchitka Island, Alaska, and compared with those of fish held in captivity. These Atka mackerel showed distinct differences in growth and condition, with weight at length and length at age being the highest among captive fish, intermediate among fish from Seguam Pass, and lowest among fish from Amchitka Island. Realized fecundity showed that on average captive fish spawned seven batches, fish from Seguam Pass six batches, and fish from Amchitka Island five batches. For wild fish, potential and realized fecundity at length or age was significantly higher at Seguam Pass than at Amchitka Island, whereas the fecundity-at-weight relationship did not differ by area, suggesting that weight is a better predictor of fecundity than length or age. Atresia and batch fecundity by length or weight did not differ by area, suggesting that the variation in fecundity is better explained by the variation in batch number than by batch size. Oocyte dry weight was higher for captive fish than for wild fish, whereas batch order did not significantly affect oocyte dry weight. Increased potential fecundity, realized fecundity, and oocyte quality in Atka mackerel females were strongly related to body size, indicating that growth differences and maternal feeding success impact the fecundity and oocyte quality of Atka mackerel. Therefore, changes in growth and condition patterns need to be taken into account to accurately estimate the reproductive potential of this species.