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    Spatial and temporal catch concentrations for Antarctic krill: Implications for fishing performance and precautionary management in the Southern Ocean

    Request Meeting Document
    Document Number:
    F. Santa Cruz, L. Krüger and C.A. Cárdenas
    Submitted By:
    Mr Francisco Santa Cruz (Chile)
    Approved By:
    Dr César Cárdenas (Chile)
    Ocean and Coastal Management, 223 (2022): 106146

    The undergoing rapid climate changes recorded along the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) in combination with the increasing seasonal catches reported by the krill fishery have raised concerns as to whether the management strategy established by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) is effectively avoiding impacts on the krill stock and related ecosystem.
    Despite the current fixed catch limit being spread across fishing areas to reduce spatial catches concentrations, our 38-year analysis revealed the highest historical spatial (ton/km2) and temporal (ton/day) fishing concentration levels across the WAP and South Orkney Islands. Higher seasonal catches in recent decades removed persistently within the same small fishing areas and during shorter fishing seasons are key factors influencing this situation.
    We used the catch per unit effort (CPUE) as a measure of fishing performance. CPUE was standardized using a GAMM model taking into account operational factors such as fleet composition, trawling methods, seasonality and daily catches, and we detected negative CPUE trends over time and across the different fishing areas. Our results suggest that the fishing performance have responded to the elevated spatio-temporal fishing concentration and changes in sea-ice. We discuss whether the negative CPUE trends are caused by fishing-induced
    depletion or driven by other factors such as krill flux, reduction and contraction of krill abundance and increased cetacean foraging (due recovery of whale populations). Finally, we also highlight the need to expand the survey’s coverage (by acoustic or net-based methods) to the new, highly fished, and non-monitored areas such as Gerlache Strait, which is an important area for krill and dependent predators.