|Chilean sea bass (USA), Légine australe (France), Austromerluza negra (Spain)|
Patagonian toothfish ranked as worst choice seafood and should be avoided. A better alternative is
Patagonian toothfish is found throughout the Southern Ocean between latitudes 40-60⁰S, including around sub-Antarctic Islands of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and southern South America. It is an important predator of the Southern Ocean. It is mainly caught by longline fishing but there are trawl fisheries around several sub-Antarctic Islands in the Indian Ocean and Macquarie Island. The New Zealand EEZ catch is small and is a straddling stock with Australia’s Macquarie Island. While many Patagonian toothfish fisheries are considered overfished and heavily depleted, several are certified as sustainable under the international Marine Stewardship Council scheme. However, they still have significant ecological impacts.
Patagonian toothfish is caught by bottom longline gear. The concerns about this fishery include absence of a stock assessment, research plan, updated management and operational plan. In addition there is a bycatch of albatrosses and petrels each year, plus bycatch of deepwater sharks and rays. Also of concern is the high level of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing that has occurred in waters controlled by CCAMLR and adjacent seas. The fish caught in the New Zealand EEZ are likely to be a straddling stock which is shared with Australia, CCAMLR and SPRFMO management. The fish are likely to spawn in Australian waters around Macquarie Island. When catch limits are set, New Zealand and Australia do not consider fish caught outside their respective EEZ.
The New Zealand and SPRFMO fisheries are not certified under any scheme. The Australia Macquarie Island fishery, which is likely part of the same stock, has MSC certification.
Exported primarily to USA (40%), China (25%), Vietnam and Hong Kong with total export value of $14.17m in 2015. This likely includes fish caught by New Zealand vessels outside the New Zealand EEZ.
No regional or fishing method difference.
|Population size:||Population size is unknown for New Zealand waters and the Ross Sea region. The Australian Macquarie fishery estimates a female spawning biomass at 67% of unfished size, but the southern area was estimated to be at 37% compared to 75% for the northern area. The Macquarie fishery was closed for 4 years in the 1990s to allow rebuilding.|
|Annual catch limit:||49.5 tonnes (from 2010-11) TACC and there is a limit of 460 tonnes (2015-16) in the Australian Macquarie EEZ. However, neither limit considers the other country’s catch.|
|Recorded catch:||About 36 tonnes were caught in 2014-15 in the New Zealand EEZ. This catch compares with 332 tonnes in 2012-13 and 309 tonnes in 2015-16 in the Australian Macquarie EEZ. In CCAMLR waters, around 10,000 tonnes of Patagonian toothfish are caught annually.|
|Stock trends:||Unknown for New Zealand waters and the Ross Sea region fish. The Macquarie fishery was closed for 4 years in the 1990s to allow rebuilding, and is currently declining and considered fully fished. Many toothfish fisheries in the Southern Ocean area overfished.|
|MSY Status:||Unknown for the New Zealand EEZ and unknown for the Ross Sea region. For Macquarie Island the fishery is consider fully fished.|
|The Ministry of Primary Industries assessment plenary report includes:|| “There are no abundance or biomass indices for Patagonian toothfish within the New Zealand EEZ. The status of the stock is unknown.”
(MPI 2013, p 579)
|Distribution:||Patagonian toothfish is found throughout the Southern Ocean between latitudes 40-60⁰S, including around sub-Antarctic Islands of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and southern South America.|
|Maximum age (years):||50+|
|Age at sexual maturity:||8-10 years|
|Ability to recover:||Low|
|Fishing method(s):||Patagonian toothfish is mainly caught in targeted bottom longlining.|
|Habitat damage:||Bottom longlining can impact benthic communities especially vulnerable or fragile habitats.|
|Habitat of particular significance:||Hasn’t been defined in New Zealand.|
|Bycatch:||Bycatch includes deepwater sharks and rays and a range of corals, sponges and other benthic species.|
|Ecological effects:||Longlines’ effects on coral, sponges and other seafloor damage and alteration, capture of deepwater sharks and skates, and the removal of an important southern predator can have ecological implications.|
|Bycatch:||The bottom longline fishery catches an estimated 15 albatrosses and petrels including several globally threatened species annually. Marine mammals (e.g. New Zealand fur seal) are also caught in the fishery, but in low numbers.|
|Management component:||Single species, however stock boundaries are unclear. Stocks overlap between New Zealand EEZ, Australian Macquarie EEZ, and CCAMLR and SPRFMO controlled waters.|
|Quota Management Species:||Yes, since 2010|
|Management plan:||Deepwater management plan for 2010-15 is out of date, and has yet to be reviewed and replaced. Patagonian toothfish is an associated species to the Ling 3 to 7 target species in the current plan. There is no operational plan and the old Deepwater plan lacks key environmental standards. The National Plans of Action on Seabirds and Sharks are more relevant to bycatch issues but they are slow to be implemented.|
|Stock assessment:||No quantitative stock assessment for New Zealand or near CCAMLR area. Annual stock assessment for Macquarie Island, Australian EEZ.|
|Research:||There is no research targeted at this Patagonian toothfish fishery.|
|Observer coverage:||100% coverage in CCAMLR waters and in Australian Macquarie fishery, and about 1% in New Zealand waters.|