Publication details.


Author(s):I. Farias, B. Morales-Nin, P. Lorance, I. Figuereido
Title:Black scabbard fish, Apanophus carbo, in the northeast Atlantic:distribution and hypotethical mygratory cicle
JCR Impact Factor:0.919
Issue No.:4

The biology, ecology, and dynamics of the deep-sea teleost black scabbardfish in the northeast Atlantic are
reviewed. The black scabbardfish is a commercial bathypelagic species found in the NE Atlantic mostly from Iceland
to the Canary Islands and Western Sahara, at depths from 800 to 1300 m. The spatial structure of its population is
still uncertain, although the existence of one single stock that migrates around the NE Atlantic driven by feeding and
reproduction is the most likely hypothesis consistent with available data. This review is based on data from commercial
fisheries off the Faroe Islands, Hatton Bank, the west of the British Isles, and Portugal (mainland, Azores, and Madeira)
and from Icelandic and Scottish scientific surveys collected between 1988 and 2012. Spawning of black scabbardfish
occurs around Madeira and the Canary Archipelagos during the last quarter of the year. According to the migratory
hypothesis, eggs, larvae, and possibly juveniles move north to areas from south of Icelandic and Faroe Islands to the
west of the British Isles where they remain for some years to feed and grow. Then, they move south to the area off
mainland Portugal, where they reach the size of first maturity but do not reproduce, and later move further south to the
spawning grounds. Further studies are needed to understand which of the environmental conditions prevailing around
Madeira and the Canaries, but not elsewhere, allow this species to mature and subsequently reproduce. This review
suggests that a multidisciplinary approach is required to confirm the spatiotemporal migration and habitats used by
black scabbardfish populations in the NE Atlantic at different life stages. Otolith contour shape and microchemistry,
fatty acids, carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes, as well as steroid hormones are proposed as promising alternative tools
for responding to this challenge.

Related staff

  • Beatriz Morales Nin