The spawning strategy of European hake (Merluccius merluccius, L. 1758) across the Western and Central Mediterranean Sea

Merluccius merluccius Spawning strategy Macroscopic maturity scale Histology Mediterranean Sea


The oocyte maturation and spawning pattern of European hake Merluccius merluccius, one of the most important species in the Mediterranean fishery, were investigated using data collected in a scientific trawl survey (Mediterranean International Trawl Survey, MEDITS) as well as commercial landing data collected in several geographical sub-areas (GSAs): the Southern and Central Tyrrhenian Sea (GSA10), Sardinia (GSA11), the Southern Adriatic Sea (GSA18) and the Western Ionian Sea (GSA19). The lack of the validation of macroscopic maturity scales is one impediment to obtaining reliable estimates of the reproductive parameters used to assess a fish stock. The MEDITS maturity scale was validated for female European hake by histological analysis of the oocyte diameter frequency distributions and according to the gonadosomatic index. The oocyte diameter frequency distributions and histological analysis confirmed that the ovarian organisation of hake was asynchronous, including a batch spawning pattern and indeterminate fecundity.