The deep-sea shrimp fishery off Brazil (Decapoda: Aristeidae): development and present status
Alvarez Perez,José Angel
The development of a deep-sea fishery for aristeid shrimps off Brazil is reviewed from its early days in 2002. Descriptive data were collected by observers on board 75 directed fishing trips conducted in the study period, with a total of over 15,000 monitored trawls. An incipient fishing phase took place between No-vember 2000 and October 2002, when aristeid shrimps were occasionally reported in the bycatch of operations mostly targeting the Argentine hake (Merluccius hubbsi). After that, a directed fishery was established for these resources. All nine vessels involved in this fishery (one national and eight chartered) concentrated on 11 limited grounds between 700 and 800 m deep and 18°S and 34°S. The main species caught between November 2002 and May 2007 was the "carabinero" Aristaeopsis edwardsiana (456,710 kg), followed by the "moruno" Aristaeomorpha foliácea (121,497 kg), and then the "alistado" Aristeus antillensis (27,919 kg). The trawlers operate in conjunction, such that the total area of each fishing ground was swept at least twice. This harvest pattern substantially reduced "carabinero" catch rates from 14 kg hour-1 in the first sampled trimester to 4 kg hour-1 in the last. Despite the inferred biomass reduction of this species, the fishery has continued without a formal management plan.