Recent changes in the spawning grounds of Black Sea anchovy, Engraulis encrasicolus

Gücü, Ali Cemal
Inanmaz, Ozgur Emek
Ok, Meltem
Sakinan, Serdar
Towards the end of the 1980s, when the spawning grounds in the northwestern shelf (NWS) of the Black Sea were lingering with the effects of eutrophication and of an exotic invasive ctenophore, a series of basin-wide international ichthyoplankton surveys pointed out an increase in the anchovies spawning in the southern half of the Black Sea. Later, with the help of international conservation efforts, several key littoral ecosystem components within the anchovy's historical spawning grounds showed signs of recovery. However, the fate of the spawning stock anchovy in the south remained unanswered. In order to present the current situation in the southern Black Sea after two decades, an ichthyoplankton survey adopting the same methodology as previously used was undertaken during the peak spawning season of the Black Sea anchovy (BSa). The survey showed that the density of eggs was by far greater than for any of the surveys conducted previously. A wider geographical distribution of the eggs indicated an increase in the number of vagrants which had drifted away from the known spawning grounds. In contrast, the increased reproductive activity in the south signifies existence of a growing, non-migrating southern BS stock. This stock seems to utilize the coastal hydrographic features associated with the rim current facilitating escape (loophole) from gelatinous predators such as Mnemiopsis leidyi and Aurelia aurata.