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    The US commercial krill fishery in Area 48: development, fishing patterns, and decision making

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    Número de documento:
    C.D. Jones and M. Hull (USA)
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    A U.S. flagged commercial factory trawler, the Top Ocean, started fishing operations for krill (Euphausia superba) in Area 48 in July, 2000. This fishery has continued and expanded each year since the initial fishing trials. This paper presents information on the development, yields, and decision making processes involved in harvesting krill by the U.S. fishery. Because the Captain of the Top Ocean had no prior experience fishing for krill, anecdotal and historical information served as the initial basis for decision making. Initial fishing trials in 2000 were conducted in Bransfield Strait and north of South Georgia; in 2001, all fishing was conducted off the South Shetland Islands and Bransfield Strait. In 2002, fishing operations were carried out off the Antarctic Peninsula, west of Elephant Island; and northwest of the South Orkney Islands. Information on set locations, effort, yield, catch rates, and the decision making processes involved in prosecuting the U.S. commercial fishery for krill by each month and region fished are summarized. The decision making processes involved during fishing operations were based on several factors, including krill abundance, weather, ice conditions, condition of krill in relation to the target product, and ad hoc information from nearby fishing fleets. High concentrations of krill were found in Bransfield Strait in 2001 while fishing inside the ice edge. The success of the fishery has increased each year due to factors related to the experience of the Top Ocean. Increasing catch rates with time are likely related to the experience of the Captain, as opposed to indices of krill abundance.