Fishery biology of the seven star flying squid Martialia hyadesi at South Georgia during winter
A scientific research fishing expedition targeting the oceanic/slope ommastrephid squid Martialia hyadesi was undertaken by a Korean-registered squid jigger in CCAMLR area 48.3, near South Georgia, in June 1996, providing the first opportunity to collect data on the fishery biology of this species during the austral winter. Fishing took place over a period of 8 days; a series of eight drifts was undertaken along an approximately east/west transect of about 200 nautical miles to the north and west of South Georgia, over depths ranging from 1,700 to 2,713 m. All fishing was to the south of the Antarctic Polar Front. Data were collected on sea surface temperature, catch per unit of effort, size, sex, maturity status and stomach contents of the catch and a sample of squid was aged by counting putative, daily microgrowth increments in the sectioned statolith. All squid were caught by jigs operating at depths from 80 to 100 m to the surface. Catch per unit of effort per drift varied between 1.0 and 21.9 kg min−1 and there was no by-catch. Greatest numbers of squid were caught at dusk and dawn. Mantle length fell in the range 220–350 mm (males) and 212–370 mm (females). Most males were sexually mature (Lipinski's stages IV–V) and most females were immature (stage II). The absence of mature females suggests that no spawning takes place in this area during the austral winter. The squid were up to 1␣year of age and had hatched during the previous winter. They were apparently from the same cohort as had been sampled at the Antarctic Polar Front in February 1996. Myctophids were the major prey in the stomach contents and the squid Gonatus antarcticus was also important; crustaceans were relatively unimportant. The results suggest that concentrations of Martialia hyadesi are present in the vicinity of South Georgia, south of the Antarctic Polar Front, during the austral winter. The squid are actively feeding during the austral winter and are susceptible to jigging gear.