May 29 2014

Sardine recovery drives Q1 Chile pelagic catches up 28%, offsetting drop in jack mackerel

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May 23, 2014, 2:17 pm
Alicia Villegas  

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Sardines. Photo by Juuyoh Tanaka.

Chile’s pelagic landings rose by 27.8% to 522,600 metric tons in the first three months of the year compared to the same period in 2013.

This was driven by good sardine catches, which more than doubled year-on-year.

By the end of March, 197,000t or 52.8% of the quota set for Chile’s sardine fishery in 2014 had been caught, according to Chile’s undersecretariat for fisheries and aquaculture Subpesca.

All of these landings were from the area between the V and X regions.

This means that during the next nine months of the year, catches cannot exceed 176,000t, as the sardine fishery saw the steepest drop in absolute volume of total allowed catches (TAC) for 2014, slashed by 38.3% to 373,000t.

The cut was in response to the steep drop in Chile’s sardine catches last year, which drove pelagic landings down by nearly 650,000t in the first nine months of 2013.

Anchovy catches also nudged up in Q1 this year, but only slightly, by 1.8% to 168,600t year-on-year.

Regions XV and II accounted for most landings (148,000t), which is also 11.2% up from last year’s 165,600t.

Jack mackerel, poor landings

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Jack mackerel, the third main pelagic species caught by the Chilean fleet, had poor landings in comparison to sardine and anchovy.
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Chile’s pelagic landings in 2014 first three months: jack mackerel (red), anchovy (green) and sardine (purple).

Vessels landed 107,000t of jack mackerel in the three month period, which is 13.9% down as the same time last year, said Subpesca.

Regions V and X were the main jack mackerel’s landings areas, totaling 95,100t, involving a fall of 19% year-on-year.

Cuttlefish catches double

Cuttlefish catches were also up in the first three months of 2014 when compared with the same time a year ago.

“The cuttlefish resource increases strongly, doubling its catches,” Subpesca said.

Cuttlefish landings totaled 37,400t by the end of March, mainly in the V and X regions.

Hake down 47%

On the other hand, hake catches were down 47.3% to 5,000t year-on-year.

Industrial vessels contributed to 37.8% or 1,900t of hake landings, while the artisanal fleet increased its catches by 10.9% to 3,100t.

According to media reports, however, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing of hake in Chile could have totaled 19,000t so far this year.

That would if so represent 83.3% of the total allowable catch for the artisanal fisheries, set at 7,600t.

Landings for mackerel, for its part, also decreased by 33.7% to 9,200t year-on-year.

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