Rev. biol. mar. oceanogr. 50(2): 249-259


Bycatch of the squat lobster Munida gregaria in bottom trawl fisheries in San Jorge Gulf, Argentina

Martin Varisco1,2, Julio H. Vinuesa1,2 and María E. Góngora2,3

1Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco, Ruta Provincial 1, Km. 4, Comodoro Rivadavia, Chubut, Argentina
2Centro de Investigación y Transferencia Chubut, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Ruta Provincial 1, Km 4, 4° piso (oficina 460), Comodoro Rivadavia, Chubut, Argentina
3Secretaría de Pesca de la Provincia de Chubut, Belgrano 778 (1° piso), Rawson, Chubut, Argentina

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Squat lobsters are recognized as potential fishery resources in many countries. Squat lobster Munida gregaria is an important component of the bycatch in trawling fisheries of Argentinian Patagonia. The frequency of occurrence (FO), relative abundance (RA) and fate of the incidental catch of M. gregaria in: a) double-beam trawler fleet (63579 hauls), b) high-seas ice trawler fleet (5608) and c) coastal fleet (584) were evaluated. The highest values of FO and RA were recorded in the coastal fleet. However, given the size of the double-beam trawler fleet, the fishing effort level suggests that the highest captures in terms of biomass are obtained by this fleet. A significant increase in RA and FO was recorded in hauls of double-beam trawler fleet in the last years. Lower FO and RA were recorded in hauls of the high-seas ice trawler fleet. Our results confirmed that squat lobster is abundant and so far not exploited resource and represents an alternative resource for the coastal fleet in San Jorge Gulf.

Key words: Squat lobsters, bycatch, trawling, potential resource