Argentina announced on Wednesday the start of a joint scientific cruise in Falkland Islands' waters to assess Southern blue whiting reproductive biomass, in the framework of the South West Atlantic Fisheries Commission Scientific Sub-Committee activities.
The cruise with fourteen Argentine and two UK scientists, is expected to last some twenty days on board the state of the art Argentine research vessel BIP Victor Angelescu belonging to the Fisheries Research and Development National Institute, INIDEP, seated in Mar del Plata.
The INIDEP release describes the research campaign as an ”acoustic estimate of the reproductive stock biomass of 'polaca' (Micromesistius australis), with an estimated duration of twenty days in the research area limited between latitudes 51o and 53o South and longitudes 57o/61o West”
The purpose of the scientific cruise is to estimate the abundance of the Southern bluewiting reproductive population, improve the knowledge on reproductive and biologic aspects of the species and verify the drift of the first stages of development (eggs and larvae) in the area to the south of the San Carlos Strait/Falklands Sound.
The Argentine and UK scientists will also work in identifying the distribution and estimate the relative abundance of other species such as Magellan hake (Macruronus magellanicus), toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides), Patagonian cod (Salilota australis), Longtail Southern code (Patagonotothen ramsayi); collect biologic samples of the species (length, weight, sex, maturity process); obtain environmental parameters (temperature, salinity, chlorophyll) to elaborate an oceanographic diagnosis of the researched area and collect benthos samples to analyze their composition.
The current scientific cruise, the second so far this year, and the first in Falklands' waters was decided at the latest meeting of the SW Atlantic Fisheries Committee meeting held in Buenos Aires.