Turkish Journal of Zoology




Hydroacoustic surveys are one of the prime methods to assess the commercially top-ranked small pelagic stocks. The method relies on acoustic scattering from a fish, which is largely controlled by the size and morphology of the swimbladder. In this study, the changes in the size of the European anchovy swimbladder sampled in the Black Sea were investigated. Ventral cross-sectional area (by photographing the ventrally dissected fish) and volume (by dorsal and lateral X-raying) of the swimbladders were estimated. Comparison of areas showed that the stomach fill and presence of viscera did not have a statistically significant impact on the swimbladder size while the hepatosomatic index showed significant impact. Although the vertical distribution of the anchovy is naturally not very wide due to absence of sufficient oxygen below 100 m, sampling depth showed significant impact on the volume of the swimbladder. However, it was also observed during X-ray imaging that a considerable number of fish (87%) had deflated swimbladders. The reasons for this variability, which may have significant implication on the acoustic estimations and stock assessment, were also discussed. The importance of acclimatization of the fish at surface conditions in studies addressing changes in swimbladder morphometry was underlined.


European anchovy, swimbladder, hydroacoustics, target strength, Black Sea

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