Abundance and distribution of atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in a Warming southern New England

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Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in southern New England (SNE) and along the mid-Atlantic coast have been described as the World’s southernmost population of this species, but little is known of their population dynamics. Despite the expectation that SNE Atlantic cod are or Will be negatively influenced by increasing Water temperatures due to climate change, fisheries that target Atlantic cod in this region have reported increased landings during the past 2 decades. The Work described here used ichthyoplankton and trawl survey data to investigate spatial and temporal patterns of abundance of Atlantic cod, and their potential links to environmental factors, across multiple life stages in Rhode Island. The results identify Waters of the state of Rhode Island as a settlement and nursery area for early stages of Atlantic cod until Water temperatures approach 15°C in late spring. Atlantic cod that Were age 1 or older used coastal habitats When Water temperatures Were Within their documented thermal preferences. The data indicate that abundance of Atlantic cod in SNE has increased since 2000, but continued Warming of Winter Water temperatures may limit future recruitment. The improved understanding of the life history and population dynamics of Atlantic cod in SNE provides insights into stock structure and productivity in a poorly understood and vulnerable portion of their geographic distribution.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Fishery Bulletin