Potential and effective capture of macrobenthic fauna associated to the Central Area (43° 30' S-48° S) of the southern king crab (Lithodes santolla) fishing in Argentina
Keywords:Benthos, southern king crab fishery, bycatch, traps
Fisheries targeting benthic species may have a negative impact on the bycatch and the seabed; however, passive gears such as traps are considered less harmful. The objective of this work was to evaluate the impact of the southern king crab (Lithodes santolla) trap fishing on the macrobenthic communities that are distributed in the Central Patagonian Area (44° S-47° S). The composition of the fauna present in the benthic communities of the Central Patagonian Area of the fishery for the southern king crab (potentially catchable fauna) was compared with the macrobenthic fauna that is retained in the traps (effectively captured or held fauna). The ‘potentially catchable’ benthic fauna was determined by means of a trawl collection, while the ‘effectively captured or held’ fauna was obtained from fishing with trap lines used by southern king crab vessels. In both cases, the data was collected during 2016 in the Central Patagonian Area. The number of registered taxa was considerably higher for the ‘potentially catchable’fauna (80 versus 15), with the taxa actually captured in traps representing only 18.7% of the total taxa that could potentially be captured. The ‘potentially catchable’ fauna is characterized (in biomass and frequency of appearance) by shrimp, sponges, brachiopods and tunicates, all sessile species with the exception of shrimp. The fauna ‘effectively captured’ by the traps was characterized by organisms with active predatory behavior (crabs and echinoderms), with a predominance of the spider crab (Libidoclaea granaria), although its spatial distribution does not coincide with the highest abundances of southern king crab. It was determined that the effect of trap fishing on the most abundant species (shrimp) as well as on those that have a relevant ecological role in the system (e.g. sponges and tunicates) is very low, since there was a clear differentiation between the macrobenthic fauna with the potential to be catchable and that effectively retained in the traps.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Esteban Gaitán, Cecilia Mauna, Carla Firpo, Pablo Lértora, Valeria Mango
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