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Abundance and individual size of American eel (Anguilla rostrata) in the St. Lawrence River over the past four decades

de Lafontaine, Y. et Gagnon, P. et Côté, B. (2009). Abundance and individual size of American eel (Anguilla rostrata) in the St. Lawrence River over the past four decades. Hydrobiologia , 647 (1). p. 185-198. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-009-9850-5.

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Résumé

Changes in abundance indicators and the mean size of American eel (Anguilla rostrata LeSueur) in the lower St. Lawrence River (SLR) over the past 40 years were assessed to determine the chronology of the species decline and the possible effect of hydroclimatic factors on that trend. Daily catches at commercial weirs and at an experimental fishery were used to model the long-term trend in silver eel availability. Eel landings started declining in the mid-1980s; whereas the modelled catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) index shows a monotonic declining trend since the late 1960s. Landings and CPUEs were not strongly correlated, and landings cannot be a valid proxy for silver eel abundance in the SLR. Variations in summer river discharge contributed to interannual fluctuations in CPUE by affecting eel availability to the fishing gears. No relationship was found between CPUE and the North Atlantic Oscillation index of climatic variability. Correlations between hydroclimatic variables lagged by 1–20 years and CPUE indices revealed no measurable effect of riverine hydroclimatic variability on eel recruitment. The average size of silver eels increased by 30 % between 1997 and 2007, as a result of poor recruitment during the mid-1980s. Since the onset of the silver eel decline preceded the major decline in recruitment in the mid-1980s, we suggest that the decline in spawning stock size was not due to poor recruitment but rather to large-scale mortality factors associated with high exploitation in upstream Lake Ontario and to construction of hydropower dams in the late 1950s.

Type de document: Article scientifique
Statut du texte intégral: Autre
Mots-clés libres: American eel, Anguilla rostrata, St. Lawrence River, Abundance, River discharge, Catchability
Sujets: 4. Faune > 4.2. Poisson
8. Impacts et monitoring > 8.2. Études de suivi
Date de dépôt: 21 juin 2016 18:54
Dernière modification: 21 juin 2016 18:54
URI: http://belsp.uqtr.ca/id/eprint/184

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