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Season catch limits announced

Patagonian toothfish are caught in Antarctic waters. Image courtesy of AFMA

Based on the latest scientific assessments, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) Commission has increased the total allowable catch (TAC) for Patagonian toothfish and reduced slightly the mackerel icefish TAC for the season starting on 1 December 2017.

The TAC for the Heard and McDonald Islands (HIMI) Fishery season for Patagonian toothfish will be 3 525 tonnes, which is an increase of 120 tonnes, and the TAC for mackerel icefish will be 526 tonnes, which is a reduction of 35 tonnes.

AFMA’s CEO, Dr James Findlay, said that Commonwealth fisheries management is considered amongst the best in the world, with Commonwealth fish stocks assessed regularly to ensure catches remain at sustainable levels.

“AFMA’s sustainable approach to fisheries management, backed up by the best available science, has been shown to work effectively,” Dr Findlay said.

“This is evident with the latest Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resources Economics and Sciences (ABARES) Fishery status reports 2017 which shows that fish stocks around the Heard and McDonald Islands are in good shape.

“The increase in the toothfish TAC and decrease in the icefish TAC again demonstrates that adjustments are made to help ensure the fishery continues to be sustainably fished, which in turn can give confidence to seafood consumers worldwide.”

Patagonian toothfish are found at depths of 500-2500 metres in sub-Antarctic waters. The species can grow up to two metres in length and weigh up to 200 kg. Its pectoral fins are large and fan-like, and it has razor sharp teeth on the upper jaw.

Also found in sub-Antarctic waters, mackerel icefish are much smaller than toothfish, weighing a maximum of two kg and growing up to 66 cm in length. Interestingly, the blood of mackerel icefish is nearly colourless due to lack of (red) haemoglobin. It also carries a compound in its blood that prevents the fish from freezing.

Source: AFMA

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