, Volume 718, Issue 1, pp 109-118

Intensive fishing can mediate stronger size-dependent maternal effect in pike (Esox lucius)

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Abstract

In pike E. lucius L., evidence on maternal effect on reproductive output is mixed. We studied whether older and larger pike females produce eggs and larvae of higher quality (weight, starvation resistance) in three forest lakes in southern Finland. Later, the study lakes were subjected to intensive experimental pike fishing, which we assumed would increase resource availability and lead to higher maternal investment (larger egg size). Length of female pike was positively correlated with the dry weight of eggs and larvae but this relation was dependent on female age. In old females, the effect of female length on egg weight was lower or even negative. Survival analysis showed a positive effect of female length on larval survival time indicating that larvae from larger females are less vulnerable to starvation during the early stage of life. After the intensive pike fishing, the positive effect of female length on egg weight was stronger in all age classes probably due to the released resources. Based on the high quality and amount of reproductive products in large (but not very old) females, they are important for the reproduction of pike populations. This should be considered in fisheries management.

Handling editor: M. Power