Volume 72

The Reproductive Biology of Baitfish Species in Bermuda

Pitt, J; J. Welch; C. Eddy
Download PDF Open PDF in Browser

Other Information

Date: November, 2019

Pages: 36-37

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy-Two Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: Punta Cana

Country: Dominican Republic


Small bony fishes are ecologically important, providing food for larger fishes and waterbirds, but are also exploited by commercial and recreational fishers for bait. In Bermuda, baitfishes include five clupeoid species and one atherinid, but their life history characteristics are poorly understood. We report on the annual reproductive cycle for these species, as well as female size-at-maturity and fecundity. Female Bermuda anchovy from 48 mm total length (TL) were reproductively active from March through November. Active spawning individuals were found around the full moon, and occasionally around the new moon. Female Reef silversides from 48 mm TL were reproductively active from April through mid-August. Partial spawners, they appear to reproduce every two weeks around the new and full moon. Female Dwarf herring were mature from 37 mm TL and reproductively active fish were found year round. However, activity peaked between April and July, and fish produced fewer oocytes in the winter, with some reproductively inactive individuals found in December. Partial spawners, they appear to spawn every six weeks around the full or new moon. Female Redear herring from 111 mm TL spawn from April through August, with most juveniles recruiting in June and July. Threadfin herring and Round sardinella were less abundant than the other species. Juveniles were found in June and July, and data suggest that these species do not spawn in the winter months, although they are most abundant near shore at that time. Fecundity is limited by size in these small species, but spawning appears to occur more frequently or over a longer season to compensate. These data will inform the management of baitfish species in Bermuda, improving the sustainability of the fishery while ensuring that these species continue to fulfil their key ecological role.

PDF Preview