A comparison of growth data (fish length) with latitude shows that southern juvenile mackerel attain a greater length than those originating from further north before growth ceases during their first winter. A similar significant relationship was found between the growth in the first year (derived from the otolith inner winter ring) and latitude for adult mackerel spawning between 44°N (Bay of Biscay) and 54°N (west of Ireland). These observations are consistent with spatial segregation of the spawning migration; the further north that the fish were hatched, the further north they will tend to spawn. No such relationship was found in mackerel spawning at more northerly latitudes, possibly as a consequence of increased spatial mixing in a more energetic regime with stronger currents. This study provides previously lacking support for spawning segregation behaviour among North East Atlantic mackerel – an important step towards understanding the migratory behaviour of mackerel and hence the spatiotemporal distribution dynamics around spawning time.
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