Biology and fishery of Long Tail Hake (Macruronus magellanicus) in the Southwest Atlantic Ocean
Keywords:Long tail hake, Macruronus magellanicus, SAO, biology, assessment, fishery
Long tail hake is one of the most important finfish resources in the Southwest Atlantic Ocean (SAO). This demersal-pelagic fish is widely distributed from 35° S to 56° S between 50 and 800 m depth. In the Patagonian region the species is found on the shelf, associated with three different water masses: Coastal, Shelf and Malvinas Waters, while north of 45° S it is related to the shelf break, following the Malvinas waters. A separate small stock, evident because of its different growth patterns, occurs inside San Matías Gulf. There is no strong difference in growth patterns between sexes, however females are larger than males, principally after the first maturity that occurs at 3 years old. Maximum age observed was 16 years old, but fish older than 12 years are scarce in the population. The dietary composition changes during the life cycle, juveniles are mainly microphagous and adults incorporate larger preys of several invertebrates and vertebrates taxa. Principal food items are zooplankton species; the most abundant are hyperiid amphipods and euphausiids. Fish and cephalopods are secondary prey. Few fish species predate on long tail hake: Southern hake (Merluccius australis), spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias), and Argentine hake (M. hubbsi). Cannibalism is not reported in long tail hake. Spawning areas have not been detected yet but some signals in somatic conditions allow inferring that this process may occur during spring. A systematic series of summer demersal standard swept area trawl surveys has been conducted since 1992 to assess the population, suggesting that maximum long tail hake biomass was more than 2 million tonnes in the mid 1990’s. Those results were employed as an index of abundance in the annual stock assessment to establish the Total Allowable Catch, but neither environmental variables nor economic effects have been considered yet. Fishing activities began during the mid 1970’s when yields were not significant, but beginning in the 1980’s several fleets targeted long tail hake, increasing catches up to 168,000 t. Products are exported to Europe, Asia and South America.
Juan Bernardele † passed away on december 3, 2013.
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Copyright (c) 2016 Analía Rosa Giussi, Anabela Zavatteri, Emiliano Di Marco, Federico Gorini, Juan Bernardele †, Noemí Marí
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