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Antarctic Research Series



  • Ecology—Research—Antarctica—Antarctic Peninsula Region

Index Terms

  • 4815 Oceanography: Biological and Chemical: Ecosystems, structure and dynamics
  • 4207 Oceanography: General: Arctic and Antarctic oceanography



Marine disturbances: Commercial fishing

D. J. Agnew and S. Nicol

Catches of seals and whales were made around the Antarctic Peninsula in the 19th and early 20th centuries. More recently, both finfish (mostly Notothenia rossii, Notothenia gibberifrons, Champsocephalus gunnari and Chaenodraco wilsoni) and krill (Euphausia superba) have been taken in the area although only krill is currently exploited. Fishing is managed by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. Total catches of finfish from 1960/70 to 1993/94 were 88,151 tons, and catches of krill over the same period were 823,897 tons. The country currently taking most krill in the subarea is Japan, usually taking over 60% of the catch each year. Between 40 and 80 thousand tons of krill is taken annually in Subarea 48.1 (the Antarctic Peninsula Region), currently about half the total catch of Antarctic krill, but substantially less than estimates of krill biomass in the area of 13.5 million tons. Large populations of birds and seals, especially chinstrap penguins, breed in the area and rely on krill to successfully rear their young. However, despite the potential for competition between the fishery and predators, the available evidence suggests that the fishery would need to increase substantially before it attained levels where it might impact adversely on these predator populations.

Citation: Agnew, D. J., and S. Nicol (1996), Marine disturbances: Commercial fishing, in Foundations for Ecological Research West of the Antarctic Peninsula, Antarct. Res. Ser., vol. 70, edited by E. E. Hofmann, R. M. Ross, and L. B. Quetin, pp. 417–435, AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/AR070p0417.

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