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    Preliminary analysis on the Kerguelen shelf icefish Champsocephalus gunnari stock from 1996/97 to 2001/02: no evidence in the recovery!

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    Document Number:
    G. Duhamel and J. Claudet (France)
    Agenda Item(s)

    The icefish fishery on the Kerguelen shelf has been stopped after the1994/95 fishing season when 3889 tonnes of Champsocephalus gunnari were landed (see CCAMLR statistical bulletins) because yields were not enough high and the lucrative fishery of Patagonian toothfish Dissostichus eleginoides deverted fishermen from these specific shallow fishing grounds. However to follow the situation in the area the fishery licences for trawlers have been linked to the obligation of conducting some experimental cruises in the traditionnal area of fish aggregations. Such cruises occur regularly with two trawlers from 1996/97 to 2001/2002, the last season of trawling in the Kerguelen EZ. Preliminary results do not show an increasing of the icefish’s abundance in the surveyed area and biomass seems very low. It is a different situation comparitively to the Heard islands stock where biomass allows catches. This situation is not clearly explained and various hypothesis are proposed: no recovery in a too depleted stock, bad recruitement or emmigration in relation to the ENSO 1998 effect in the vicinity of the islands, increasing of predation by fur seals Arctocephalus gazella growing the population. Other analysis (total and species by species biomass, importance of the by -catch in the area) will follow this preliminary analysis.