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Age composition, growth, movements, meristics and parasites of the whiting, Merlangius merlangus, in the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel

Potter, I.C., Gardner, D.C. and Claridge, P.N. (1988) Age composition, growth, movements, meristics and parasites of the whiting, Merlangius merlangus, in the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 68 (02). pp. 295-313.

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Abstract

Samples collected from power station intake screens between 1972 and 1977 have been used to study aspects of the biology of the whiting in the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel. 0+ whiting generally started appearing in the inner estuary in July, at which time their standard length was at least 38 mm. Their numbers peaked in October and subsequently declined particularly rapidly during the wet winter of 1976/7 when salinities were frequently below 10‰. The size of 0+ whiting in the late autumn and early winter was generally less in the shallows of the Inner Severn Estuary than in neighbouring deeper waters and in the Inner Bristol Channel. Growth rates of 0 + whiting fell within the range of those recorded for the North Sea, but below those generally found in inshore waters and sea lochs on the west coast of Scotland. Following their immigration into inshore waters in the Bristol Channel and Inner Severn Estuary, young whiting became infected with the copepod parasites Lernaeocera branchialis and Clavella adunca and the metacercariae of the heterophyid digenean Cryptocotyle lingua. Prevalence of infection was less in 0+ than older fish and infection by L. branchialis caused a significant decline in condition. As whiting became larger, the main site of attachment of Clavella adunca changed gradually from the wall of the branchial chamber to the primary rakers of the first gill arch. Vertebral counts suggest that the whiting which enter the Inner Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary are not representatives of the populations found in the Irish Sea.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Copyright: © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 1988
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/18815
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