Herring recruitment


Darstellung der Nachwuchsentwicklung des im Frühjahr laichenden Herings in der westlichen Ostsee ab 1990 (WBSS = Western Baltic Spring Spawners) (c) Thuenen-Institut/Patrick Polte
Darstellung der Nachwuchsentwicklung des im Frühjahr laichenden Herings in der westlichen Ostsee ab 1990 (WBSS = Western Baltic Spring Spawners) (© Thuenen-Institut/Patrick Polte)

DCF (Data Collection Framework): Investigations on the ecology of herring larvae in the Greifswalder Bodden and the Western Baltic Sea, and delivery of a recruitment index for the herring assessment (N20)

To ensure an sustainable management of fish resources, natural mortality of a species' offspring (recruits) has to be incorporated into stock assessment methods.In the Data Collection Framework the Rügen Herring Larvae Survey monitors herring recruitment and with  the annual recruitment index provides an important forecast instrument for stock dynamics of Western Baltic herring. Additionally, the survey represents an essential base line to investigate the drivers and stressors of natural mortality reflected in the recruitment index every year.

Background and Objective

Shallow, inshore systems, such as Greifswald Bay are important spawning grounds for Western Baltic herring populations. Results of the larval herring monitoring program are nowadays established data bases for ICES stock assessments and represent the earliest means in herring ontogeny  to forecast stock dynamics. The aim of this extensive monitoring programs is to receive the annual recruitment index as a scientifically sound data base for sustainable resource management. Furthermore the data of the extensive time series represent a unique base line to increase understanding of the ecological mechanisms structuring the reproduction success of herring in the Baltic Sea. Studies include e.g. investigating ecological functions of Greifswald Bay as retention area for larval herring, the impact of food availability on larval growth and the importance of spawning substrate, predator-prey interaction and extreme climate events.


Based on abundance and growth patterns of herring larvae along the season an index for reproduction success (N20) is developed.  This index is set in relation with abundance of young-of-the-year juveniles sampled during hydroacoustic surveys during autumn. Together these metrics provide a fishery independent measure for the year class strength of herring offspring (recruitment index). Mechanistic research approches include hydrographic dispersal modeling as well as empirical investigations of egg development on inshore spawning beds and  field- and laboratory experiments to study predator-prey relationships.



Permanent task 1.2001 - 3.2019

More Information

Projekt type:
Project status: ongoing


hits: 13

  1. Gröger JP, Hinrichsen HH, Polte P (2014) Broad-scale climate influences on spring-spawning herring (Clupea harengus, L.) recruitment in the Western Baltic Sea. PLoS One 9(2):e87525, DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0087525
    pdf document (limited accessibility) 6504 kb
  2. Bauer RK, Gräwe U, Stepputtis D, Zimmermann C, Hammer C (2014) Identifying the location and importance of spawning sites of Western Baltic herring using a particle backtracking model. ICES J Mar Sci 71(3):499-509, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fst163
  3. Kotterba P, Kühn C, Hammer C, Polte P (2014) Predation of threespine stickleback (Gastrosteus aculeatus) on the eggs of Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) in a Baltic Sea lagoon. Limnol Oceanogr 59(2):578-587, doi:10.4319/lo.2014.59.2.0578
  4. Polte P, Kotterba P, Hammer C, Gröhsler T (2014) Survival bottlenecks in the early ontogenesis of Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus, L.) in coastal lagoon spawning areas of the western Baltic Sea. ICES J Mar Sci 71(4):982-990, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fst050
  5. Polte P (2013) Ruegen herring larvae survey and N20 larval index. Working Document WKPELA. Benchmark Workshop on on Pelagic Stocks (WKPELA): 4-8 February 2013. Copenhagen: ICES, 10 p
  6. Polte P, Worsoe Clausen L (2013) Stock components and early life cycle ecology of Western Baltic spring spawning herring - prospects of recent research results with potential implication for stock assessment strategy. Working Document WKPELA9. Benchmark Workshop on on Pelagic Stocks (WKPELA): 4-8 February 2013. Copenhagen: ICES, 13 p
  7. Bauer RK, Stepputtis D, Gräwe U, Zimmermann C, Hammer C (2013) Wind-induced variability in coastal larval retention areas: a case study on Western Baltic spring-spawning herring. Fisheries Oceanogr 22(5):388-399, DOI:10.1111/fog.12029
  8. Heiler J, Hammer C, Kotterba P, Polte P (2012) Die vertikale Verteilung von Heringslarven im Greifswalder Bodden. Inf Fischereiforsch 59:25-29, DOI:10.3220/Infn59_25-29_2012
    pdf document (limited accessibility) 891 kb
  9. Oeberst R, Dickey-Collas M, Nash RDM (2009) Mean daily growth of herring larvae in relation to temperature over a range of 5-20°C, based on weekly repeated cruises in the Greifswalder Bodden. ICES J Mar Sci 66(8):1696-1701, DOI:10.1093/icesjms/fsp193
  10. Oeberst R, Klenz B, Gröhsler T, Dickey-Collas M, Nash RDM, Zimmermann C (2009) When is year-class strength determined in western Baltic herring? ICES J Mar Sci 66(8):1667-1672, DOI:10.1093/icesjms/fsp143
  11. Oeberst R, Klenz B, Dickey-Collas M, Nash RDM (2008) Variability of the year-class strength of western Baltic spring spawning herring (Rügen herring) - which factors determine the year-class strength? Copenhagen: ICES, 14 p
  12. Oeberst R (2007) A new stratification of the Rügen herring larvae survey (RHLS) in the Greifswalder Bodden. Copenhagen: ICES, 8 p
  13. Oeberst R, Klenz B (1999) Zur Optimierung des Laboraufwandes bei Heringslarvensurveys im Greifswalder Bodden. Inf Fischwirtsch Fischereiforsch 46(1):17-20
    pdf document (limited accessibility) 82 kb