Argentine scientists from INIDEP have presented a paper on toothfish biologic-catches in the Argentine dissostichus eleginoides fisheries, based on data collected from operations in 2021. The information for the paper originated in official Argentine stats data and that supplied by observers on longliners with ITQ for the species.
Results from thirteen vessels were recorded, twelve from trawlers and from an only longliner, Of the twelve, eleven were specific for toothfish. The Argentine Federal Fishing Council established a toothfish maximum catch in 2021 of 3,700 tons. Declared landings last year totaled 3,781 tons. This year to September catches have reached 3.080 tons which is 21% higher than the same period in 2021.
Five trawlers were responsible for 99% of catches, they are “Argenova XXI”, “Argenova XXII”, “Centurión del Atlántico”, “Echizen Marú” and “San Arawa II”, while the reamining catch belongd to longliner “Argenova XIV”.
According to the report the vessels operated south of 47o S, and most of the catches took place in the quadrants 5461, 5462 and 5463, while the longliner operated on the continental slope between 35o S and 41o S.
”Data from the biological samples collected by observers on board showed that the percentage of species shorter than 82 centimeters total length (considered first sexual maturity) was 13% , a value less that the maximum allowed since the end of 2019 (20% of catches in number), points out the paper.
As to the population studies, they were addressed during September 2021 in the fifth research cruise on board the BP Centurion del Mar with the purpose of estimating the year to year variability of the species recruitment, independently from the actions by the fleet involved in commercial operations.
Researchers also underlined that the process of tagging and recapturing of toothfish has continued. Since the beginning of such operations in 2004, some 6009 species have been tagged and 121 recaptured. Last year another 102 toothfish were tagged.
Following on the analysis done it can be concluded that, as has happened in the last two years, in reference to the indicators considered as the most relevant to determine the behavior of the fleet, and as to the percentage of juveniles in the catches and the volume of incidental catch, the toothfish fisheries complies with the measures established, points out the report from INIDEP.
Researchers added that the fact is that the concentration of the species is generated in the three fisheries quadrants, according to the trawlers that find these areas auspicious for the activity with very good yields.
This situation is worsened because of the very minor participation of longliners that given their operational characteristics, would allow catches in other areas, mainly located on the continental slop, alleviating pressure on the fisheries zone where much of the reproductive process takes place.
Researchers suggest that management procedures for the fisheries be continued, mainly with ensuring the mandatory presence of observers, with a minimum depth allowed in the area where catches are most common.
Likewise they recommended strict control of the banning of operations directed to fish at less than 800 meters depth in the three quadrants which make up the APJMN with the purpose of minimizing the catch of juveniles of the species and their possible discarding.
Finally the report proposes a campaign destined to deepen the knowledge on reproductive aspects or the species and monitor the impact of the ban on the overall population. The campaign should be directed during the months of July to September by one of the vessels operating in the research.
Since the beginning of last year the deep trawl fishing for toothfish in Argentina is in the framework of the Improvement Project with the objective of obtaining a Sustainable Fisheries certificate from the MSC, Marine Stewardship Organization. This is why it is so important to improve the biological fisheries info on accompanying species, benthonic fauna, and incidental catches