abstract:We investigated environmental effects on larval anchovy fluctuations (based on CPUE from 1980 to 2000) in the waters off southwestern Taiwan using advanced time series analyses, including the state-space approach to remove seasonality, wavelet analysis to investigate transient relationships, and stationary bootstrap to test correlation between time series. For large-scale environmental effects, we used the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) to represent the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO); for local hydrographic conditions, we used sea surface temperature (SST), river runoff, and mixing conditions. Whereas the anchovy catch consisted of a northern species (Engraulis japonicus) and two southern species (Encrasicholina heteroloba and Encrasicholina punctifer), the magnitude of the anchovy catch appeared to be mainly determined by the strength of Eng. japonicus (Japanese anchovy). The main factor that caused the interannual variation of anchovy CPUE might change through time. The CPUE showed a negative correlation with combination of water temperature and river runoff before 1987 and a positive correlation with river runoff after 1988. Whereas a significant negative correlation between CPUE and ENSOs existed, this correlation was driven completely by the low-frequency ENSO events and explained only 10% of the variance. Several previous studies on this population emphasized that the fluctuations of larval anchovy abundance were determined by local SST. Our analyses indicated that such a correlation was transient and simply reflected ENSO signals. Recent advances in physical oceanography around Taiwan showed that the ENSOs reduced the strength of the Asian monsoon and thus weakened the China Coastal Current toward Taiwan. The decline of larval anchovy during ENSO may be due to reduced China Coastal Current, which is important in facilitating the spawning migration of the Japanese anchovy.