Overview

Comprehensive Description

Micromesistius poutassou (Risso, 1827)

Istanbul Fish Market : 6300-111 (1 spc.), 05.05.1990 ; 6300-120 (1 spa), 05.05.1990 .

  • Nurettin Meriç, Lütfiye Eryilmaz, Müfit Özulug (2007): A catalogue of the fishes held in the Istanbul University, Science Faculty, Hydrobiology Museum. Zootaxa 1472, 29-54: 38-38, URL:http://www.zoobank.org/urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:428F3980-C1B8-45FF-812E-0F4847AF6786
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Biology

Found over the continental slope and shelf to more than 1000 m, but more common at 300-400 m. Feeds mostly on small crustaceans but large individuals also prey on small fish and cephalopods. Makes daily vertical migrations: surface waters at night and near the bottom during the day. Sold fresh and frozen, and also processed as oil and fishmeal (Ref. 1371).
  • Cohen, D.M., T. Inada, T. Iwamoto and N. Scialabba 1990 FAO species catalogue. Vol. 10. Gadiform fishes of the world (Order Gadiformes). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of cods, hakes, grenadiers and other gadiform fishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(10). Rome: FAO. 442 p. (Ref. 1371)   http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?id=1371&speccode=25 External link.
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Description

 The blue whiting, Micromesistius poutassou, is a streamline fish that may reach a maximum length of 50 cm. It has a slender silver-coloured body with a slightly bluish dorsal tint. It has three widely spaced dorsal fins. A lateral line is present and runs the full length of the body. It has a conspicuously forked tail. It has notably large eyes.
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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Northwest Atlantic: southern Greenland and off southeast Canada and the northeastern coast of the USA.
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Northeast Atlantic: Barents Sea south through the eastern Norwegian Sea, around Iceland, then in the western Mediterranean, and south along the African coast to Cape Bojador. Northwest Atlantic: southern Greenland and off southeast Canada and the northeastern coast of the USA.
  • Cohen, D.M., T. Inada, T. Iwamoto and N. Scialabba 1990 FAO species catalogue. Vol. 10. Gadiform fishes of the world (Order Gadiformes). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of cods, hakes, grenadiers and other gadiform fishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(10). Rome: FAO. 442 p. (Ref. 1371)   http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?id=1371&speccode=25 External link.
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Western Baltic Sea, North Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, eastern North Atlantic: Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard and Barents Sea south to Morocco; western North Atlantic.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 24 - 28; Analsoft rays: 33 - 39
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Size

Maximum size: 500 mm TL
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Max. size

50.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 1371)); max. published weight: 830 g (Ref. 40637); max. reported age: 20 years (Ref. 1371)
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Diagnostic Description

Dorsal fins widely spaced, interspace between second and third fins longer than base length of first dorsal fin. Lateral line continuous over whole body. Color is blue-gray dorsally, grading to white ventrally. Sometimes with a small black blotch at the base of the pectoral fin.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat Type: Marine

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nektonic
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Found over the continental slope and shelf to more than 1000 m, but more common at 300-400 m.
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Environment

bathypelagic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); marine; depth range 150 - 3000 m (Ref. 3663), usually 300 - 400 m
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Depth range based on 36836 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 28732 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): -9 - 1900
  Temperature range (°C): 3.793 - 14.396
  Nitrate (umol/L): 1.737 - 18.637
  Salinity (PPS): 33.881 - 36.725
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.084 - 6.571
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.225 - 1.227
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.488 - 17.258

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): -9 - 1900

Temperature range (°C): 3.793 - 14.396

Nitrate (umol/L): 1.737 - 18.637

Salinity (PPS): 33.881 - 36.725

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.084 - 6.571

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.225 - 1.227

Silicate (umol/l): 1.488 - 17.258
 
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 Being oceanic and benthopelagic, Micromesistius poutassou inhabits the continental slope and shelf down to a depth of 150 m to more than 1000 m. It may make daily nocturnal vertical migrations to the surface.
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Depth: 150 - 3000m.
From 150 to 3000 meters.

Habitat: benthopelagic.
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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Oceanodromous. Migrating within oceans typically between spawning and different feeding areas, as tunas do. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
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Trophic Strategy

Immature live in shallow waters, occasionally inshore (Ref. 30424). Mesopelagic (Ref. 5951). Adults prey on fish (Ref. 30424), juveniles feed on small crustaceans, euphausiids, amphipods, rarely on fishes (Ref. 3663).
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Diet

Feeds mostly on small crustaceans, but large individuals also prey on small fish and cephalopods
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Micromesistius poutassou

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Micromesistius poutassou

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 72
Specimens with Barcodes: 82
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Threats

Not Evaluated
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: highly commercial; price category: low; price reliability: reliable: based on ex-vessel price for this species
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Wikipedia

Blue whiting

The blue whiting, Micromesistius poutassou, one of the two species in the genus Micromesistius in the cod family, is common in the northeast Atlantic Ocean from Morocco to Iceland and Spitsbergen. It also occurs in the northern parts of the Mediterranean, where it may be locally abundant.[1] Blue whiting also occur in the northwest Atlantic Ocean between Canada and Greenland, but is considered rare. It has a long, narrow body and a silvery underbody. The fish can attain a length of more than 40 cm. The average length of blue whiting caught off the west shores of the UK is 31 cm.[2]

A related species, southern blue whiting, Micromesistius australis, occurs in the Southern Hemisphere.

Contents

Fisheries

Exploitation of blue whiting only started in the 1970s. The species, in the last decades, has become increasingly important to the fishing industries of northern European countries, including Russia. Catches exceeded 1 million tonnes from 1998 to 2008.[3] According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, blue whiting was fifth most important capture fish species in 2006.[4] However, recruitment of the stock fell to a low level in 2006 and has been weak ever since, causing declining spawning stock and eventually triggering strong reductions in catch quotas. The reasons for low recruitment in recent years are poorly known.[3][5] The total quota for 2011 was set to 40,100 tonnes,[6] which is less than 2% of the record catch of 2.4 million tonnes in 2004. Catches in 2011 exceeded the quota by more than 100%.[7]

For 2012, ICES advises the catches should be no more than 391,000 tonnes.[8] This large increase relative to the quota in 2011 (but not to the catches in 1998-2008) is caused by a revision in the stock assessment; however, recruitment to the stock is still low and the stock is forecasted to decline. The coastal states set the total quota for 2012 to 391,000 tonnes.[9]

The fish is usually not marketed fresh, but processed into fish meal and oil. However, in Russia and in southern Europe, blue whiting are sometimes sold as food fish.

Management

Blue whiting on a Faroese stamp

Blue whiting in the northeast Atlantic is a straddling stock: it occupies the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Faroe Islands, the European Union, Iceland and Norway, as well as the high seas".[10] This means effective regulation calls for international co-operation.

Quota advice for blue whiting in the northeast Atlantic is provided by ICES. For a long period, blue whiting fisheries were mainly regulated through nationally set quotas because there was no international agreement about sharing the total quota.;[11] consequently, the total catch greatly exceeded the advised quotas[3] However, the Coastal States (the Faroe Islands, the European Union, Iceland and Norway) reached an agreement in December 2005,[12] ending the period of what was sometimes referred to as "Olympic fishing". Since 2006, the blue whiting fishery has been regulated under this agreement, which gives the greatest share to the European Union, but through quota swaps, Norway has been holding the largest annual quotas.

Blue whiting sold for human consumption in Spain

References

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