Present state and perspectives for the southern Brazil shelf demersal fisheries

Haimovici, Manuel


The demersal fish stocks in southern Brazil were assessed from landings and catchper-unit effort data trends between 1975 and 1994, available information on the life history patterns, and population dynamics of the most important species. The fishing gears, mostly otter and pair bottom trawls in the 1970s, diversified towards double-rig trawls for fish and shrimp and bottom gill nets in the mid 1980s, and bottom longlines in the upper slope in the early 1990s. There were also some less successful attempts with traps for fish and crabs. The demersal fisheries are more intensive in winter when migratory species move northward, associated with the seasonal displacement of the western boundary of the Subtropical Convergence. Landings between 1975 and 1994 were mostly of sciaenid fishes (>70%) and elasmobranchs (10%) and oscillated around 59 000 t. There was not a decrease in total landings but a shift from more to less exploited stocks. Since 1989, 4% of the landings came from depleted stocks of Pagrus pagrus (L.), Netuma barba (Lacépède), Pogonias cromis (L.) and Rhinobatos horkelli (Muller & Henle); 37% from overexploited stocks: Micropogonias furnieri (Desmarest), Paralichthys patagonicus Jordan, Squatina guggenheim Marini, and Galeorhinus galeus (L.); 24% from heavily exploited stocks of Umbrina canosai Berg, and Macrodon ancylodon (Bloch & Schneider); and 35% of Cynoscion guatucupa (Cuvier) and small stocks with unclear status. The demersal fisheries are virtually unmanaged and future landings are expected to decrease if fishing pressure remains high. Effective management will require the participation of all three countries in the region because most of the stocks fished in southern Brazil are shared with Uruguay and Argentina.

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