Jonathan A. Hare1, Donald
E. Hoss1, Allyn B. Powell1,
MAŁGORZATa Konieczna3, David S.
Peters1, Shailer R. Cummings2,
and Roger Robbins1, 4
1 NOAA National Ocean Service, Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research, 101 Pivers Island Road, Beaufort, NC 28516 USA
2 NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratories, Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 37149 USA
3 Sea Fisheries Institute, Plankton Sorting and Identification Center, K. Królewicza 4, 71-550 Szczecin, Poland
4 Department of Biology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858
Key words: larval distributions, vertical distributions, Caribbean Sea, Scombridae, Scombro-labracidae
Fishes of the family Scombridae are important recreational and commercial species throughout the Western Central Atlantic Ocean. There remain, however, many questions regarding the biology of these fishes that are crucial for the protection of sustainable fisheries. To provide some basic information, this study examines larval distribution and abundance in the vicinity of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, an area of sparse information compared to the Gulf of Mexico and the southeastern United States coast. Seasonal, horizontal and vertical distributions were examined and species-specific patterns were described. Thunnus atlanticus and Katsuwonus pelamis were abundant during a November/December cruise, while Thunnus atlanticus, Katsuwonus pelamis and Euthynnus alletteratus were abundant during a May cruise. Regional differences were found in the distribution of some species and species specific vertical distributions were identified. Thunnus atlanticus was more surface oriented than Euthynnus alletteratus and Katsuwonus pelamis. These results are discussed relative to prior work in the region.