Differences in habitat selection of male and female megrim(Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis, Walbaum) to the west of Ireland. A result of differences in life-history strategies between the sexes?
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AbstractThe sex ratio in the catches of megrim (Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis, Walbaum) varied systematically with depth on three independent trawl survey series off the west coast of Ireland. Female megrim dominated the shallow catches, while males were more common in catches from deeper waters. The size difference between the sexes alone cannot explain this pattern because it remained evident when fish length was taken into account. Therefore size-specific habitat preferences or size-selective fishing mortality cannot fully explain the observed trend in the sex ratio of megrim. Female megrim grow to a larger size, at a faster rate than males and it is likely that their differences in habitat preferences are related to this. Shallower waters are warmer during the growing season and are likely to provide better conditions for fast growth. An understanding of the mechanisms behind these patterns is an important consideration in the management and conservation of this fish stock, which might be particularly vulnerable because the commercial landings are to a large extent dominated by female megrim
DescriptionNOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Sea Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Sea Research, [Volume 64, Issue 4, (November 2010)] doi:10.1016/j.seares.2010.01.011 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1385110110000237