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Fisheries News.

Thursday, December 2nd 2004 - 20:00 UTC
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Patagonian toothfish migration under scientific scrutiny; Argentine fisheries exports: 676 million US dollars; Laboratory-bred hake spawn for the first time; Chile will reduce common hake quota; Claims of deliberate squid by catching in Argentina; Chile and Argentina resume “prelisting” certification.

Patagonian toothfish migration under scientific scrutiny

Argentina's National Institute for Fisheries Research and Development (INIDEP) is involved in a Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) marking and recapture campaign in the southwest Atlantic Ocean with the purpose of gathering information fro resource management. The scientific experience kicked off last August 10 and is financed by INIDEP, Argentina's Federal Fisheries Council (CFP) and companies from the Advisory Commission for the Fisheries Follow-up (CASPMeN). It is scheduled to last until the end of 2006 with most data collected from the same commercial vessels, basically reproductive cycle, growth, and feeding habits. The study will focus on Patagonian toothfish's age and features of body growth, as well as feeding habits (qualitatively and quantitatively). It is believed that there are more than one population of Patagonian toothfish in Argentine and Falkland Islands waters. Inidep plan contemplates catching and marking at least 500 specimens of up to 100 centimeters long before they are returned to the sea. Patagonian juveniles seem to concentrate east of States Island, but other areas will also be covered. A seven centimeter, orange plastic cylinder will be inserted into the muscle of the Patagonian toothfish dorsal region inscribed with a specific number for that specimen. Instructions for the return of the marker to INIDEP will also be attached. A chemical marking solution (ox-tetracycline) will also be injected to check growth marks on bone structures. INIDEP is officially requesting that marked Patagonian toothfish, when caught, should be reported to the captain of the vessel and the scientific observer onboard who will then register all the necessary data on the recovered specimen and return the marker, together with otoliths and scales. INIDEP also announced that it has implemented a reward system in exchange for every marker recovered. Scientists Otto C. Wöhler, Inidep Southern Demersal Species Assessment Project Chief; Patricia Martínez; Marcelo Pájaro; and Federico Gorini, are the task force of the program in collaboration with INIDEP scientist-observers on board fishing vessels. (FIS/MP).-

Argentine fisheries exports: 676 million US dollars

Argentine fish and shell-fish exports in the first ten months of this year reached 676 million US dollars, a 10% drop from last year, according to the latest release from the country's National Institute of Statistics and Census (INDEC). Exports of unprocessed products amounted to 419 million US dollars, 23% drop from the same period in 2003 when they reached 541 million US dollars. Processed products exports increased 27%, totalling 257 million US dollars. In October unprocessed fish and shellfish exports declined 52%, and totaled 33 million US dollars. Processed fish and shellfish jumped 28% reaching 23 million. Regarding shrimp and prawn exports experienced a significant decline in the first ten months of 2004 with sales amounting to 200 million US. dollars, a 40% decrease over 2003. (FIS/MP).-

Laboratory-bred hake spawn for the first time

In early November laboratory-bred Southern hake (Merluccius australis) specimens have spawned for the first time at the Experimental Centre of Quillaipe, in Chile's Region X, announced Alberto Augsburger, project manager for the Marine Resources Area of Fundación Chile. In a statement to the magazine Aqua, Mr. Augsburger said that although only one female spawned successfully, the quality of its eggs, has made this a milestone, closing the circle on the biological cycle of the southern hake, a species with major farming potential in Chile. During the experiment, researchers from Fundación Chile obtained around 150,000 eggs in the laboratory, and until 29 November were awaiting the fertilized eggs to hatch and begin their larval development. Scientists involved in the project expect a 3% survival rate. Contrary to what happens with salmon and related species which have to be killed to extract eggs and sperm, with hake researchers only need to alter some environmental parameters such as temperature and massage the specimens' abdomen. Mr. Augsburger said that in 2005 the project will be further expanding infrastructure, basically a new hatchery and nursery to house 500,000 hake juveniles. The southern hake farming project began in 1997 when juvenile and adult wild hake specimens were caught for adapting and farming in floating marine cages. In the second stage of the project, started in April 1999, researchers worked with the purpose of breeding hake in a farming system beginning with inland brood-stock tanks, to produce eggs and larval farming in the hatchery. (FIS/MP).

Chile will reduce common hake quota

Reduction of the common hake (Merluccius gayi) biomass in Chilean waters will force authorities to limit the 2005 global quota for 2005, a situation forecasted to raise concerns and uncertainty particularly among coastal fishermen. "Regarding hake we obviously have a problem. There's a legitimate debate over the causes of the problem but we want an open discussion" said Felipe Sandoval, Chilean Fisheries Undersecretary during the opening of the National Confederation of Artisinal Fishermen (CONAPECH) congress. Mr. Sandoval said that to solve the problem they need to agree on hake recovery policies. "We've spoken with the Institute for Fisheries Development (IFOP) for the presentation of the various thesis regarding the causes of the situation, besides contemplating how to prevent a repetition". Although the resource decline would mostly affect fishermen from the country's central region, the problem is extensive to the whole Chilean fishing sector. Speaking to the local newspaper El Líder Mr. Sandoval also announced that "should the estimates that determined the quotas be wrong, there might be a legitimate debate. We don't think it is the case, but we are open to a new study. We have nothing to hide regarding the actions taken and are open to a useful dialogue". However common hake quota will be decided this week in a meeting of the National Fisheries Council (CNP). As to hoki (Macruronus magellanicus), "only authorised trawlers would be allowed to catch the resource within the 60 miles". Finally fishing authorities will require acoustic equipment to define the location of hake and hoki, and if they are too mixed, the fishery will be banned. (FIS/MP).-

Claims of deliberate squid by catching in Argentina

Fresh fish trawlers operating from Mar del Plata, in the province of Buenos Aires, landed around 1,400 tonnes of squid (Illex argentinus) in the last month, a source from the National Directorate of Fisheries and Aquaculture (DNPyA) told Pesca y Puertos. Although the squid fishing season was closed prematurely a few months ago to preserve stocks and guarantee the fishery's sustainability, a number of vessels from the Argentine commercial fleet targeting common hake (Merluccius hubbsi) were authorised to catch squid as by-catch. However, the vice-president of the Argentine Squid Shipowner's Chamber (CAPA), Guillermo De los Santos, reported that many vessels were targeting squid directly. According to unofficial data released by a DNPyA source, some of these fresh fish trawlers exceeded the 10% squid by catch ceiling set by enforcement authorities, registering, in some cases, up to "15%, 18%, and even 20%" The data was taken from catch records sent from Mar del Plata and mostly correspond to the area of Talud, which extends from parallel 41°00' S to parallel 42°65' S. Argentine authorities have warned suspected ship-owners that they would be sanctioned. According to Mr. De los Santos, photographs of the catches show squid specimens reaching a very good commercial size and many adult females that were caught before they had spawned, proffering a gloomy outlook for next year's catches. He blamed the situation on the high commercial value of the species and the "voracity of some businessmen who jeopardize the resource's sustainability". The 2004 squid season was catalogued poor and forecasts for next year are not promising. (FIS/MP).

Chile and Argentina resume "prelisting" certification

After three years of bilateral talks, Chile and Argentina have resumed the certification of fisheries plant and factory vessels by means of a system of prior authorization or "Prelisting" which means local authorities provide sanitary guarantees and certify compliance with rules in force in the country of destination for its products. Following negotiations between the National Service of Health and Agro-Food Quality (SENASA) of Argentina and Chile's National Fisheries Service (SERNAPESCA) it was agreed to re-launch the "prelisting" system which facilitates and speeds commercial exchange, "less red tape and lower costs", SERNAPESCA Director, Sergio Mujica. "The Prelisting system had been operational until 2000, but due to internal factors it was suspended by the Argentine authorities. The re-launching of this system is a major achievement that will decrease the time employed for the entry of fisheries products into Argentina and likewise, into Chile, thus favoring trade between both countries", said José Miguel Burgos, head of SERNAPESCA Fisheries Sanitary Department. The official said that when this system was not in effect, authorizing a company to export products to Argentina could take between two to six months. "From now on, this procedure will be carried out within a period of maybe less than a month" indicated Mr. Burgos in an official communiqué from SERNAPESCA. From the moment the system of prior authorization was reestablished, SENASA has authorised 33 Chilean fisheries plants to export their produce to Argentina, after an inspection carried out by its technicians. (FIS/MP).-

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