Skip to main content

The death of north sea fish during the winter of 1962/63, particularly with reference to the sole,Solea vulgaris

Das Absterben von Nordseefischen während des Winters 1962/63 mit besonderer Berücksichtigung der SeezungeSolea vulgaris

Kurzfassung

Während des kalten Winters 1962/63 kam es zu Fischsterben in weiten Bereichen der südlichen Nordsee. Es wird über das Ausmaß dieses Sterbens, die betroffenen Areale und die geschädigten Arten berichtet und die gefundenen Daten zur Meerestemperatur in Beziehung gesetzt. Die Sterberate war geringer als während des harten Winters 1946/47, aber wohl ähnlich wie die im Winter 1928/29. Das betroffene Areal war 1963 größer als in den früheren Jahren. Viele Fische sind offenbar direkt durch die Kälte getötet worden. Dieser Umstand wird unter Berücksichtigung der Physiologie der betroffenen Arten diskutiert. Zweifellos wurden viele Fische auch durch bakterielle Hautinfektion getötet.

Summary

1. During the cold winter of 1962/63 fish mortalities were frequently reported over much of the North Sea to the south of the Dogger Bank. The sole populations certainly suffered the highest mortalities, but dead cod, plaice, whiting, dabs, turbot, brill and conger eel were also reported.

2. Fish began to die towards the end of February, and the numbers increased to a maximum in mid-March, after which they gradually decreased until reports ceased by mid-April. The development of mortalities was compared with the sea temperatures at the time.

3. The mortalities were on a large scale but not as great as previously reported for the cold winter of 1946/47; they may have been as heavy as those in 1928/29. Their distribution was more widespread than in either 1929 or 1947.

4. Analysis of fish blood serum showed abnormally high sodium levels in many fish caught in the colder waters. In some individuals the salt content appeared to approach lethal levels, but it was not known whether salt imbalance was the primary cause of death.

5. Flatfish were also attacked by a skin infection which certainly contributed to the deaths of many of these fish during the cold period.

Literature cited

  1. Boddeke, R., 1963. Influence of the severe winter 1962–63 in the Dutch coastal waters.I.C.E.S. Near Northern Seas Committee Paper No. 119, 1–3.

  2. Brett, J. R., 1952. Temperature tolerance in young Pacific salmon, genusOncorhynchus.J. Fish. Res. Bd. Can. 9, 265–323.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Dannevig, A., 1930. The death of fish in very cold winters.J. Cons. 5, 194–196.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Doudoroff, P., 1942. The resistance and acclimatization of marine fishes to temperature changes. I. Experiments withGirella nigricans (Ayres).Biol. Bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 83, 219–244.

    Google Scholar 

  5. —— 1945. The resistance and acclimatization of marine fishes to temperature changes. II. Experiments withFundulus andAtherinops.Biol. Bull. mar. biol. Lab., Woods Hole 88, 194–206.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Eliassen, E., Leivestad, H. &Møller, D., 1960. The effect of low temperatures on the freezing point of plasma and on the potassium/sodium ratio in the muscles of some boreal and subarctic fishes.Årbok Univ. Bergen, Mat.-Naturv. Ser. Nr. 14, 1–24.

  7. Ellett, D. J., 1963. Surface temperatures in the southern North Sea, January–March 1963.I.C.E.S. Hydrographical Committee Paper No. 115, 1–7.

  8. Finch, R. H., 1917. Fish killed by the cold wave of February 2–4, 1917, in Florida.Mon. Weath. Rev., Wash. 45, 171.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Galloway, J. C., 1941. Lethal effect of the cold winter of 1939–40 on marine fishes at Key West, Florida.Copeia No. 2, 118–119.

  10. Johansen, A. C., 1929. Mortality amongst porpoises, fish, and the larger crustaceans in the waters around Denmark in severe winters.Rep. Danish biol. Sta. 35, 63–97.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Jordan, D. S. &Everman, B. W., 1902. American food and game fishes. Doubleday, New York, 572 pp.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Laevastu, T., 1962. Water types in the North Sea and their characteristics.Hawaii Inst. Geophys. 24, 1–3.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Lee, A. J., 1952. The influence of hydrography on the Bear Island cod fishery.Rapp. Cons. Explor. Mer 131, 74–102.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Lumby, J. R. &Atkinson, G. T., 1929. On the unusual mortality amongst fish during March and April, 1929, in the North Sea.J. Cons. 4, 309–332.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Maslov, N. A., 1944. [The bottom-fishes of the Barents Sea and their fisheries.] (In Russian.)Trudy PINRO 8, 3–186.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Miller, E. M., 1940. Mortality of fishes due to cold on the southeast Florida coast, 1940.Ecology 21, 420–421

    Google Scholar 

  17. Saetersdal, G., 1956. [Fisheries research in northern waters — study items and results.] (In Norwegian.)Forskning og Fiske Nr. 1, 1–23.

  18. Simpson, A. C., 1953. Some observations on the mortality of fish and the distribution of plankton in the southern North Sea during the cold winter, 1946–1947.J. Cons. 19, 150–177.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Smith, W. C., 1948. Effect of severe winter conditions of 1946–1947 on fish and lobsters at Port Erin.Rep. Mar. biol. Sta. Pt. Erin for 1945–1947, 30–35.

  20. Storey, M. &Gudger, E. W., 1936. Mortality of fishes due to cold at Sanibel Island, Florida, 1886–1936.Ecology 17, 640–648.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Vaux, D., 1953. Hydrographical conditions in the southern North Sea during the cold winter of 1946–1947.J. Cons. 19, 127–149.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Wikgren, B.-J., 1953. Osmotic regulation in some aquatic animals with special reference to the influence of temperature.Acta zool. fenn. No. 71, 1–93.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Willcox, J., 1888. Fish killed by cold along the Gulf of Mexico and coast of Florida.Bull. Bur. Fish., Wash. 6 (1886).

  24. Woodhead, P. M. J., 1964a. The death of fish and sublittoral fauna in the North Sea and the English Channel during the winter of 1963.J. Anim. Ecol. 33, 169–173.

    Google Scholar 

  25. -- 1964b. Changes in the behaviour of the Sole,Solea vulgaris, during cold winters, and the relation between the winter catch and sea temperatures.Helgol. Wiss. Meeresunters. 10 (in press).

  26. —— &Woodhead, A. D., 1959. The effects of low temperatures on the physiology and distribution of the cod,Gadus morhua L., in the Barents Sea.Proc. zool. Soc. Lond. 133, 181–199.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Woodhead, P.M.J. The death of north sea fish during the winter of 1962/63, particularly with reference to the sole,Solea vulgaris . Helgolander Wiss. Meeresunters 10, 283–300 (1964). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01626114

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01626114

Keywords

  • Salt Content
  • Sodium Level
  • Cold Winter
  • Cold Period
  • High Sodium