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University of Rhode Island fisheries oceanographers study the effects of predator-prey interactions in the Georges Bank fish community

ient to prevent these species from increasing to record levels of abundance.

Predation by sharks and rays does not appear to be a significant source of mortality for cod and haddock. Most of the predation of these species is inflicted by other groundfish species and includes cannibalism. Cod, haddock, shark, and skates compete for mackerel, herring, and sandlance. Yellowtail flounder constituted a small proportion of the spiny dogfish diet, yet there was substantial predation mortality because dogfish far outnumbered the flounder.

In a companion paper, published in the October 2000 issue of the ICES Journal of Marine Science, Tsou and Collie examined the impact of predation on the recruitment of young fish to the Georges Bank fish community. The level of predation mortality varies from year to year and can therefore affect the recruitment of haddock, herring, and silver hake. Cannibalism was the dominant source of predation on cod and silver hake; this predation, therefore, compensates for changes in year-class size.

The authors concluded that the levels of predation mortality should be considered when making medium- to long-term recruitment forecasts.


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Contact: Lisa Cugini
lcugini@gso.uri.edu
401-874-6642
University of Rhode Island
4-Dec-2001


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