Identifying the distribution of Atlantic cod spawning using multiple fixed and glider-mounted acoustic technologies

Douglas R. Zemeckis, Micah J. Dean, Annamaria I. Deangelis, Sofie M. Van Parijs, William S. Hoffman, Mark F. Baumgartner, Leila T. Hatch, Steven X. Cadrin, Christopher H. McGuire, Richard O'Driscoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Effective fishery management measures to protect fish spawning aggregations require reliable information on the spatio-temporal distribution of spawning. Spawning closures have been part of a suite of fishery management actions to rebuild the Gulf of Maine stock of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), but difficulties remain with managing rebuilding. The objective of this study was to identify the spatial and temporal distribution of cod spawning during winter in Massachusetts Bay to improve our understanding of cod spawning dynamics and inform fisheries management. Spawning was investigated in collaboration with commercial fishermen during three winter spawning seasons (October 2013-March 2016) using acoustic telemetry and passive acoustic monitoring equipment deployed in fixed-station arrays and mounted on mobile autonomous gliders. Tagged cod exhibited spawning site fidelity and spawning primarily occurred from early November through January with a mid-December peak and some inter-annual variability. The spatial distribution of spawning was generally consistent among years with multiple hotspots in areas >50 m depth. Current closures encompass most of spawning, but important areas are recommended for potential modifications. Utilizing multiple complementary technologies and deployment strategies in collaboration with commercial fishermen enabled a comprehensive description of spawning and provides a valuable model for future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1610-1625
Number of pages16
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


  • Atlantic cod
  • Gadus morhua
  • Gulf of Maine
  • acoustic telemetry
  • fisheries management
  • gliders
  • passive acoustic monitoring
  • spawning closure


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