Original Articles

Drift Patterns of Anchovy Engraulis Capensis Larvae in The Southern Benguela, and Their Possible Importance for Recruitment


Abstract

In the southern Benguela, successful recruitment of Cape anchovy Engraulis capensis is highly variable and seems to be dependent on the spawning biomass only to a small extent. This paper investigates how the variations in the drift patterns of larvae from the spawning areas on the Agulhas Bank to the upwelling-dominated regions on the west and south-west coasts of South Africa can explain these observed variations. Through the coupling of a three-dimensional circulation model, a Lagrangian particle-tracking model and spawning data, the number of particles ending up in different areas are used to investigate observed variability in recruitment. The model was able to explain 95% of the observed variability in recruitment for the period 1987–1993 (excluding 1989) using a simple linear regression formula. The model also suggests that, of the interannual variability in currents and egg distribution, the latter is the most important cause of the changes observed in the recruitment of anchovy.

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