Differences in swimbladder volume between Baltic and Norwegian spring-spawning herring: Consequences for mean target strength

Sascha M. M. Fässler*, Natalia Gorska, Egil Ona, Paul G. Fernandes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Fish swimbladders, where present, contribute most to the scattering of sound by fish, as measured by the target strength (TS). The volumes of the swimbladders of two different European stocks of Atlantic herring were compared to consider the effect on estimates of TS. Swimbladder volumes of Baltic and Norwegian spring-spawning herring (Clupea harengus) were measured, together with individual herring fat content. Swimbladder volumes were found to differ significantly between the two herring stocks. Baltic herring have a larger swimbladder volume, which is suggested to be associated with the fish's low fat content, which in turn may be linked to its specific energy budget and the low salinity of the Baltic Sea. A buoyancy model that considered the different salinity conditions and fat proportions was used to evaluate the observed differences in swimbladder volume. The swimbladder volume data were subsequently used to model the mean target strength as a function of depth and growth pattern. Backscattering of the swimbladder was modelled using the modal-series-based deformed-cylinder model (MSB-DCM), describing the swimbladder as a gas-filled, elongated prolate spheroid. The fish body component was modelled as a fluid-filled ellipsoid using the distorted wave Born approximation (DWBA). Modelling results support a different TS-to-size relationship for Baltic herring, with a stronger echo, due to the larger swimbladder. Depth- and length-dependent TS relationships based on the model results are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-321
Number of pages8
JournalFisheries Research
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008


  • Baltic herring
  • Depth-dependent target strength
  • Norwegian spring-spawning herring
  • Swimbladder volume
  • Target strength model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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