Interannual variability in reproductive traits of the Patagonian toothfish Dissostichus eleginoides around the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia
Commercial fisheries data, collected as part of an observer programme and covering the period 1997–2014, were utilized in order to define key reproductive traits and spawning dynamics of the Patagonian toothfish Dissostichus eleginoides at South Georgia. Multi-year spawning site fidelity of D. eleginoides was revealed through the identification of previously unknown spawning hotspots. Timing of female spawning was shown to have shifted later, leading to a shorter spawning duration. A decrease in length and mass of female and male spawning fish and a reduced number of large spawning fish was found, evidence of a change in size structure of spawning D. eleginoides. During the study period fewer later maturity stage females (including spawning stage) were observed in conjunction with increased proportions of early stage female D. eleginoides. The findings are discussed in the context of reproductive success, with consideration of the possible effects such spawning characteristics and behaviours may have on egg and larval survival. This work presents the first long-term assessment of D. eleginoides spawning dynamics at South Georgia and provides valuable knowledge for both the ecology of the species and for future fisheries management of this commercially important species.
Authors: Brigden, K.E., Marshall, C.T., Scott, B.E., Young, E.F. ORCID record for E.F. Young, Brickle, P.