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Dynamics and fishery of the Peruvian hake: Between nature and man

AutorGuevara-Carrasco, Renato; Lleonart, Jordi
Palabras clavePeruvian hake
Peruvian upwelling ecosystem
El Niño
Fecha de publicaciónjun-2008
CitaciónJournal of Marine Systems 71 (3-4): 249–259 (2008)
ResumenMean length in the catch of Peruvian hake (Merluccius gayi peruanus) declined drastically by 8 cm in a few months in 1992. The 1991–93 El Niño event marked the beginning of changes in bottom environmental conditions, that along with other changes in the ecosystem, were the cause of the disappearance of large sized old hake from the traditional fishing grounds and the invasion of these areas by high concentrations of small sized young hake, traditionally distributed in the southern areas. A misinterpretation of this change gave an optimistic perception of the state of the stock, leading to a large increase of the fishing fleet and therefore to an increase of the fishing pressure on this resource. Catch increased quickly to very high levels in 1996, the fishery indicators of relative abundance remained stable, while global abundance of hake was diminishing. The resource responded to these natural variations of environment and to the intense fishing pressure with changes in some aspects of its biology and ecology. The most remarkable was the decrease of the length and age at first maturity that led to spawning by 1 year old (19 cm) individuals in a species whose observed longevity was 14 years. In 2002 a total and indefinite fishery closure was established by the Peruvian government and a technical commission for the hake recovery was created, which carried out continuous monitoring of the stock. After a closure of 20 months the indicators showed signs of recovery and the fishery was reopened in 2004. However, after an encouraging beginning during 2004 and the first quarter of 2005, neither abundance nor age structure had improved by the end of 2005, and in fact were deteriorating by the start of 2006. The survival of the age 2 and 3 groups was very low and few 4+ years old individuals were observed. Several factors working at different time scales have been proposed to explain the status of hake. The impact of the fishery, variations in the abiotic environment, predation by the jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) and cannibalism were considered as potential causal factors of this decline.
Descripción11 pages, 14 figures
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmarsys.2007.02.030
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