Argentina patagonian toothfish

Argentina patagonian toothfish

Fishery Improvement Project – Prospective

Last update: December 2020

Species: Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides)

FIP Stage according to CASS: 1, The fishery’s performance is being evaluated and stakeholders are being recruited to participate in the project.

FIP profile at Argentina Patagonian toothfish – bottom trawl

Fishery Location: FAO Area 41.  Argentine Exclusive Economic Zone.

FIP Coordination: If you would like more information about the FIP or if you wish to support it, please contact Alejandra Cornejo (CeDePesca).

FIP Participants:

Other references:

Date Publicly Announced: July 2020 (Prospective FIP announced)

Current Improvement Recommendations:

  • [ON TRACK] Complete an MSC Pre-Assessment of the fishery to determine its current level of compliance against the standard and to identify sustainability issues.
  • [ON TRACK]  Adopt a FIP Action Plan to achieve a certifiable status for the fishery.


Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) is a long-lived species (> 50 years), which inhabits waters associated to the southern shelves and slopes of South America and around the sub-Antarctic islands of the Southern Ocean. There is no evidence of large-scale geographic migrations, and studies using genetics, biochemistry, parasite fauna and tagging indicate a high degree of isolation between populations in the Indian Ocean, South Georgia and the Patagonian Shelf.

In Argentina, the fishery is managed by the Fisheries Federal Council (Consejo Federal Pesquero, CFP) and the National Secretariat for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería y Pesca de la Nación, SAGyP), while research and stock assessment are undertaken by the National Institute of Fisheries Research and Development (Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero, INIDEP). The Patagonian toothfish fishery is subject to total allowable catches issued by the CFP, attending advice by INIDEP.

The companies ESTREMAR, NUEVA PESCANOVA, PESANTAR and SAN ARAWA have decided to team up with CeDePesca with the aim of designing a FIP with the ultimate goal of achieving a certifiable status for the Argentina Patagonian toothfish bottom-trawl fishery.

Progress Update


June – July 2020

On June 10th, Estremar, Nueva Pescanova, Pesantar, San Arawa, and CeDePesca signed a Framework Agreement and Specific Agreement N1 to implement Stages 0 – 2 of a Fishery Improvement Project for the Argentine Patagonian toothfish industrial bottom trawl fishery.  The pre-assessment will be conducted by CeDePesca, and is expected to be available in late October, together with a draft Action Plan to be discussed with FIP partners.

August – December 2020

During this period, CeDePesca has been working to complete the pre-assessment of the fishery against the MSC standard. To better assess the performance indicators in P2, virtual interviews were held with fishers in September, and information regarding bycatch in the trawling fishery was sought from INIDEP.  In response, the entity prepared a technical report describing bycatch in the freezing trawling fishery for the period 2015-2019.  The document was delivered to CeDePesca on December 9th.  The new expected completion date for the MSC PA is January 2020.

On other relevant matters, a research campaign to assess Patagonian toothfish recruitment was started on September 14th by INIDEP, on board the commercial fishing vessel “Centurion del Atlántico”, property of FIP partner ESTREMAR. For a fourth consecutive year, INIDEP completed the research campaign, which included 20 fishing sets in stations located to the east of States Island.

Also, on October 9th, CeDePesca issued a press release highlighting the importance of maintaining the INIDEP research campaigns aimed at assessing the Southern fishery resources.  This press release was distributed to government officials and the media, in the context of the government’s relaunch of the initiative «Pampa Azul».

If you would like more information about the FIP or if you wish to support it, please contact Alejandra Cornejo (CeDePesca).