The biology, ecology and development of fishery management advice for the anomuran crabs at South Georgia (CCAMLR Subarea 48.3)
This review summarises the available information on the biology and ecology of the lithodids at South Georgia and provides an overview of the development of a management regime for them. Finally it aims to highlight areas in which further research should be directed in order to provide information on which to base the most appropriate assessment and management methods in light of continuing interest in the regional crab fishery. Considerable gaps in our knowledge of the biology, ecology and demography of the lithodid species at South Georgia remain. Uncertainty surrounds estimates of biomass, growth rates and long-term survivorship of discards of the targeted species. In addition, there is doubt surrounding the identification of the less frequently caught species. The ecosystem interactions and function of all lithodids in the region remain poorly understood with great uncertainty surrounding their trophic ecology and life histories. Recent analyses suggest that the current precautionary catch limit may not be sustainable in the long term if it were reached consistently. Further research to address many of the areas outlined above should be undertaken if there is continued interest in the fishery. However, low market value and interest coupled with the very high level of discarding are likely to render the fishery commercially unviable.