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    Standing stock of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba Dana, 1850) (Euphausiacea) in the Southwest Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean, 2018–19

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    B.A. Krafft, G.J. Macaulay, G. Skaret, T. Knutsen, O.A. Bergstad, A. Lowther, G. Huse, S. Fielding, P. Trathan, E. Murphy, S.-G. Choi, S. Chung, I. Han, K. Lee, X. Zhao, X. Wang, Y. Ying, X. Yu, K. Demianenko, V. Podhornyi, K. Vishnyakova, L. Pshenichnov, A. Chuklin, H. Shyshman, M.J. Cox, K. Reid, G.M. Watters, C.S. Reiss, J.T. Hinke, J. Arata, O.R. Godø and N. Hoem
    Submitted By:
    Dr Bjørn Krafft (Norway)
    Approved By:
    Dr Bjørn Krafft (Norway)
    J. Crust. Biol., 41 (3) (2021): 1–17.

    Estimates of the distribution and density of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba Dana, 1850) were derived from a large-scale survey conducted during the austral summer in the Southwest Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean and across the Scotia Sea in 2018–19, the ‘2018–19 Area 48 Survey’. Survey vessels were provided by Norway, the Association of Responsible Krill harvesting companies and Aker BioMarine AS, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Republic of Korea, and China. Survey design followed the transects of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources synoptic survey, carried out in 2000 and from regular national surveys performed in the South Atlantic sector by the U.S., China, Republic of Korea, Norway, and the U.K. The 2018–19 Area 48 Survey represents only the second large-scale survey performed in the area and this joint effort resulted in the largest ever total transect line (19,500 km) coverage carried out as one single exercise in the Southern Ocean. We delineated and integrated acoustic backscatter arising from krill swarms to produce distribution maps of krill areal biomass density and standing stock (biomass) estimates. Krill standing stock for the Area 48 was estimated to be 62.6 megatonnes (mean density of 30 g m–2 over 2 million km2) with a sampling coefficient variation of 13%. The highest mean krill densities were found in the South Orkney Islands stratum (93.2 g m–2) and the lowest in the South Georgia Island stratum (6.4 g m–2). The krill densities across the strata compared to those found during the previous survey indicate some regional differences in distribution and biomass. It is currently not possible to assign any such differences or lack of differences between the two survey datasets to longer term trends in the environment, krill stocks or fishing pressure.