The juvenile abundance index of San Jorge Gulf hake fell an average of 60 per cent over last year. (Photo: CedePesca/FIS)
Alarming decline in San Jorge hake
Tuesday, April 20, 2010, 01:10 (GMT + 9)
The breeding grounds of common hake (Merluccius hubbsi) located in the San Jorge gulf is showing some alarming signs, concludes a report authored by the National Institute for Fisheries Research and Development (INIDEP).
Technical Report 9/2010 drafted by INIDEP reveals that the index of abundance of juveniles fell an average of 60 per cent over last year.
"The value of the index for the group age 2 (24 -32 centimetres) in 2010 registered a fall of 69 per cent with respect to 2009, remaining at a level similar to that of 2008,”reads the INIDEP text, Pescare reports.
Meanwhile, the preliminary value of the index for age 1 (15 -23 cm) underwent an inter-annual diminution of 53 per cent, leaving behind the slight growth it had registered in 2009.
With these numbers, the future of the fishery and the commercial activity is under threat.
The report adds: “It must be pointed out that, although the adults have been noted partly strengthened this year thanks to the extraordinary level the age 2 group registered in 2009, the indices for the present groups of ages 0 and 1 are the lowest of the last three years.”
The data included in this technical work arose from the survey carried out in January 2010 to analyse the distribution and structures of the common hake population in the North Patagonian breeding area.
The surveyed area mainly includes the waters of the San Jorge gulf and its adjacent platform, up to 100 metres in depth.
The average hourly yields in weight obtained showed a progressive reduction from 2005 to 2007 in all the area, with the subsequent increase in 2009, the INIDEP scientists indicated.
Nevertheless, a significant backward movement in the Gulf was detected last year, especially in the central-south sector.
"A diminution of 55 per cent was registered, returning to the level found in 2008,” the report's authors indicate.
The Institute experts confirmed the need to implement measures that protect developing units, as much hake as prawn (Pleoticus muelleri).
The head of the Argentine Fisheries Subsecretariat, Norberto Yauhar, announced this past week that he will demand that all shrimp vessels operate with the Disela and Hargril selectivity devices as a first move.
In addition, he urges the restoration of the use of the DEJUPA device to the rest of the fleet and a cut in the fishing effort targeting common hake in the gulf. All these proposals are being discussed in the Plenary session of the Federal Fisheries Council (CFP).
Meanwhile, the latest statistics released by the Fisheries Subsecretariat indicate that 60,982.6 tonnes of hake were landed between 1 January and 16 April in Argentine ports. This figure reflects a loss of 24.3 per cent with respect to the first quarter of 2009, when 80,469.1 tonnes were unloaded.
Of total landings this year, 59,397.2 tonnes were captured south of parallel 41° and 1,585.4 tonnes north of the same.
- Lean hake landings worrisome
By Analia Murias