Understanding the Impact of Environmental Variability on Anchovy Overwintering Migration in the Black Sea and its Implications for the Fishing Industry

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Güraslan C., Fach B. A. , Oğuz T.

FRONTIERS IN MARINE SCIENCE, vol.4, 2017 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 4
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.3389/fmars.2017.00275
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Keywords: Black Sea, anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus), overwintering migration, climate variability, Common Fisheries Policy, LONG-TERM VARIABILITY, CLIMATE-CHANGE, SURFACE-TEMPERATURE, THERMAL FRONTS, BROWN SHRIMP, MODEL, CIRCULATION, MOVEMENT, CAPELIN, SHIFTS
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Black Sea anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) undertake extensive overwintering migrations every fall from nursery grounds to warmer overwintering areas located on the south-eastern coast of the Black Sea. During migration and particularly upon arrival at the Anatolian coast, they support an important fishery and valuable source of income for the regional community. Black Sea anchovy have undergone significant stock fluctuations partly related to climatic conditions, for example, migrating anchovy schools arrived late or failed to arrive at the Anatolian coast when fall temperatures increased. It is therefore of importance to understand the conditions required for successful overwintering migration and explore different migration routes. This study invokes a Lagrangian modeling approach applied to satellite derived circulation and temperature data as a first attempt to model anchovy migration dynamics in the Black Sea. This modeling approach takes the influence of the physical environment into account, while the quality of overwintering grounds, adaptive, schooling, and homing behavior is neglected. The model is used to investigate the possible influence of interannual and seasonal variability of temperature and surface currents, as well as the influence of migration behavior on the success of anchovy overwintering migration for both the Black Sea and Azov Sea anchovy. The results of the present work show the possibility that overwintering anchovy fished along the Turkish Eastern Anatolian coast may not exclusively originate from the northwestern shelf, but mainly from the eastern Black Sea basin. Migration pathways are identified for both Black Sea and Azov Sea anchovy, which are of importance for the national fisheries efforts of riparian countries. The modeling results are in agreement with general patterns of anchovy migration given in the literature indicating that the physical environment may be a major factor in shaping general migration patterns. Simulation results are used to hypothesize about alternatives to previously determined migration routes and provide potential reasons that explain the inability of the Bulgarian anchovy fishery to recover. Results show that the intensity and timing of autumnal cooling, coupled with current strength, can be of significant importance in determining annual and seasonal variability of migration success. Considering the need for fisheries management to account for the variability in fishable overwintering anchovy stocks a modeling approach as developed in the current study may provide such a tool.