Population structure, reproduction and exploitation of the greater forkbeard
The objective of this study was to determine the population distribution and some biological aspects for fish stock assessment of the greater forkbeard Phycis blennoides along the Algerian basin. The distribution of P. blennoides (3418 individuals) was studied using data collected between 170–779 m depth during two bottom trawl surveys developed on 2003 and 2004. Additionally, some biological parameters were obtained from 1050 individuals sampled from commercial fisheries in Algerian ports (i.e. Annaba, Azeffoun, Dellys, Cap Djinet, Zemmouri, Bouharoun, Algiers, La Madrague, Cherchell, Tenes and Mostaganem) during the period 2013–2017. P. blennoides sampled from bottom trawl surveys showed a depth related distribution with the largest individuals being found at 600–800 m depth and the smallest at shallower depths. Density and biomass varied with depth and density also with longitude, while biomass showed no pattern with longitude. Recruitment was recorded in the eastern sector of Algeria during winter, for individuals sampled by bottom trawl surveys. Young P. blennoides entered commercial fisheries in summer, with an overall sex ratio skewed towards males (1F:2.18M). The size at first maturity (L 50) was 24.30 cm and 30.39 cm for males and females, respectively. The age at 50% maturity was 2–3 years for specimens collected by a bottom trawl survey in 2003 and commercial fisheries, but 3–4 years for the bottom trawl survey in 2004.