Acta Oceanologica Sinica

Fishery biology of whitespotted conger Conger myriaster (Brevoort, 1856) in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea

Whitespotted conger Conger myriaster is a commercially important species in the seas around China, Korea and Japan. The coastal waters of China serve as an important feeding ground for congers, but the spatio-temporal variations in the fishery and biological characteristics of the population have been rarely evaluated and less well understood in this area. We studied the growth, spawning and feeding characteristics of C. myriaster on the basis of samples collected from October 2016 to April 2017 in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea. A total of 529 specimens were collected, with ages ranging from 1 to 6 years and total length ranging from 132 mm to 834 mm. The parameters of von Bertalanffy growth equation L and k were 1 026 mm and 0.226 a−1, respectively; the sex ratio was 88:0 (female: male) in the East China Sea and 2.67:1 in the South Yellow Sea; the development stage of ovary ranged from peri-nucleolus stage to secondary yolk globule stage, and the testis of two males was at mid-meiotic stage; Crustacean was the major prey for conger of small length, and food source shift to fish with somatic growth. The results showed substantial differences from previous studies in Japan and Korean waters, as well as from China seas in the 1980s, suggesting potential spatiotemporal changes in the biological characteristics of C. myriaster. This study may improve current understanding of the fishery biology of C. myriaster in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea.