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    Changing status of three notothenioid fish at the South Shetland Islands (1983–2016) after impacts of the 1970–80s commercial fishery

    Request Meeting Document
    Document Number:
    E. Barrera-Oro, E. Marschoff and D. Ainley
    Submitted By:
    Dr Esteban Barrera-Oro (Argentina)
    Polar Biol., 201 (2017): 1–8,

    Owing to commercial fishing during the late 1970s/early 1980s, targeted notothenioid species had become depleted around the South Shetland Islands. Herein we report subsequent changes in the prevalence of three species, Notothenia rossii, Gobionotothen gibberifrons and Notothenia coriiceps in Potter Cove, King George Islands/ Isla 25 de Mayo, in a 33-year effort to monitor recovery. N. rossii and G. gibberifrons had been severely impacted by
    industrial fishing but in offshore waters N. coriiceps had never been commercially fished; however, all three species exhibit similar nearshore habitats and life history. We examined composition in trammel net catches during 2012–2016, augmenting a time series started in 1983. Our inshore results were consistent with those from offshore bottom trawl sampling in 2007 and 2012 around the South Shetland Islands: (1) continued increase in the  abundance of N. rossii; (2) further decline in G. gibberifrons recruitment evidenced by low proportions of juvenile fish; and (3) a high abundance of N. coriiceps. Reasons for lack of recovery in G. gibberifrons remain obscure but seemingly relate to the dramatically changing ecosystem of the region
    due in part to climate as well as recovery among previously depleted upper trophic level species. Our results are also consistent with trends reported in seabirds that feed on juveniles of these notothenioids: decrease in the areas commercially fished. Under the regulation of CCAMLR, commercial fishing for finfish in the South Shetland Islands region (FAO Subarea 48.1) remains prohibited since 1991; results indicate that it cannot be reinstated.