Links between parasitism, energy reserves and fecundity of European anchovy, Engraulis encrasicolus, in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea

The European anchovy, Engraulis encrasicolus L. 1758, is one of the most sought-after target species in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea. However, this stock currently consists of small individuals, and landings are reported to have decreased considerably. The main purpose of this study was to assess, for the first time, the interrelationships between size, fecundity, energy reserves and parasitism in female anchovies, in order to analyse the potential implications for the health of northwestern Mediterranean anchovy stocks arising from the current shortage of large individuals. Results revealed that smaller individuals show lower fecundity, lower lipid content and a higher intensity of certain parasites. As it is known that smaller individuals now predominate in the population, the relationships found in this study indicate that the health of anchovies from the northwestern Mediterranean is currently impaired ​
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