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    An assessment of Chaenocephalus aceratus and Pseudochaenichthys georgianus in Subarea 48.3

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    D.J. Agnew (Secretariat) and K.-H. Kock (Germany)
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    Chaenocephalus aceratus and Pseudochaenichthys georgianus have been exploited in Subarea 48.3 since 1977 but have never been fully assessed by the Working Group on Fish Stock Assessment because of a lack of reliable biological and catch data. This paper attempts to reconstruct the fishery for these two species by assuming that 75% of the ‘unidentified fish’ caught by the Soviet Union in the years 1977 to 1988 consisted of catches of C. aceratus and P. georgianus. Biological, age-length and length data from Polish research and commercial sources has been used with the new catch data in a VPA (Variable Population Analysis). The analyses show good agreement with historical biomass estimates from surveys, and indicate that the stock of C. aceratus has decreased from 18 000 tonnes to 6 000 tonnes, and that of P. georgianus from 40 000 tonnes to 10 000 tonnes, over the period of exploitation. Projections indicate that C. aceratus is unlikely to sustain a high level of catch even when it recovers, although P. georgianus may sustain a fishery of about 2 000 tonnes. The current TAC (Total Allowable Catch) (bycatch) limit of 300 tonnes would seem to be appropriate to allow recovery of both species in the near future.