Fecundity of fishes inhabiting coastal and estuarine environments in the southwest Atlantic Ocean
The aim of this study was to estimate the fecundity of six marine fish species from the southwest Atlantic off the coast of São Paulo State, Brazil. In particular, the number of oocytes in the most advanced vitellogenic stage (NDO), batch fecundity and the number of batches that will be produced were estimated. Specimens of longfinger anchovy Anchoa filifera, atlantic anchoveta Cetengraulis edentulus, bay whiff Citharichthys spilopterus, Stellifer brasiliensis, rake stardrum S. rastrifer and southern kingcroaker Menticirrhus americanus were captured bimonthly, from June (2012) to May (2013). The mature ovaries were removed, weighed, fixed in formalin solution and histologically analysed. All histological sections were photographed and the images analysed using advanced image processing techniques. The estimated number of batches that will be recruited to the germinal vesicle migration/hydrated stock ranged from one to four batches. NDO is positively related to ovarian and female size. Small females with low ovary weight produce low NDO. The NDO in A. filifera, C. edentulus and M. americanus may represent the final number of oocytes to be spawned in the next spawning event, which could be used for batch fecundity estimation. This study contributes to a better understanding of the reproduction of species inhabiting shrimp fishery grounds which are caught as by-catch in tropical and subtropical ecosystems. Information on the maturity and fecundity of these populations is an important element in assessing stock status and the degree of fishing pressure these populations are experiencing.