Ommastrephes bartramii: a potential target for the squid fishery in the Southwest Atlantic
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Six exploratory cruises on board of the Japanese RV "Shinko Maru N°3" were carried out between 1997 and 2002 to obtain data on red squid (Ommastrephes bartramii)in the oceanic area of the SW Atlantic off Argentina and Uruguay (33° S-42° S/43° W-55° W). Between 10 and 32 jigging stations were performed each year during the night at depths of 80-200 m. Positive catches were registered in the whole area investigated with yields ranging between 0.01 and 2.03 kg/ (hour*line)and 0.001-2.26 individuals/(hour*line). Total catches oscilated between 1,426 kg in 2002 and 2,825 kg in 2000 and sea surface temperature at the fishing stations between 7.5° C and 24.5° C. Yields higher than 1 individual/ (hour*line)were registered at surface temperatures of 22° C-24° C. Size range of the squids caught was 10-40 cm mantle length (ML)for males and 12-49 cm ML for females, with a large number of individuals of both sexes immature. The fishing potential of the species in the reduced region surveyed yielded poor results but enough evidence to consider that future research is needed in the vast area of distribution of red squid in the SW Atlantic.