Argentine hoki (Patagonian grenadier)

Argentine hoki (Patagonian grenadier)

Fishery Improvement Project – Prospective

Last update: October 2020

Species: Argentine hoki (Macruronus magellanicus),

Other common names: Patagonian grenadier, merluza de cola (Spanish)

FIP Stage according to CASS1, The fishery’s performance is being evaluated and stakeholders are being recruited to participate in the project.

FIP Stage according to CASS: 6, The fishery is MSC-certified (Certified since May 22th, 2012; May 19th, 2017). This FIP is aimed at achieving and maintaining a green status against the McDonald’s procurement policy.

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:

FIP Documents:

Date Publicly Announced: July 2020

FIP Objectives:

1) To ensure that fishery-independent data is available to give more robustness to the stock assessments.
2) To provide supplementary information that help to understand the migratory patterns of South American hoki.
3) To conduct a new stock assessment after new information is gathered.
4) To adjust the management decisions, if necessary, to the findings of the previous objective.


Patagonian grenadier (Macruronus magellanicus) is one of the most important finfish resources in the Southwest Atlantic Ocean (SAO). Its general distribution comprises two geographical areas, namely the Chilean platforms and slopes in the Southeastern Pacific from Cape Horn to 33° S (Arana, 1970) and the Argentinean platforms and slopes in the Southwestern Atlantic between 36° S and 56° S (Angelescu et al., 1958), including the Strait of Magellan and Tierra del Fuego channels (Fenucci et al., 1974; Lloris and Rucabado, 1991).

In the Patagonian region, the species is found on the shelf, associated with three different water masses: Coastal, Shelf and Malvinas Waters, while north of 45° S it is related to the shelf break, following the Malvinas waters.

Hoki depth distribution is very broad ranging from 20 to 600 m (Inada, 1983; Wöhler, 1987; Chesheva, 1995), with the highest concentration between 50-200 m. In the Southwestern Atlantic, hoki distribution is closely related to the cold waters of the Malvinas Current, which flows north and deepens when reaching the Brazilian Current near 40° S. This distribution also spans over the broad Argentinean continental platform including the San Jorge Gulf and the San Matías Gulf (Roa et al., 1976; Inada, 1983; González and Caille, 1995). This species occurs in the Patagonian shelf and slope, inhabiting three types of water bodies with different salinities: Malvinas Current, coastal waters and shelf waters (Fedúlov et al., 1990).

The fleet targeting Argentine hoki is composed entirely of trawlers, mainly large vessels that, depending both on their characteristics and on the depth of the schools, can use bottom or mid-water trawls.

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 Argentine hoki fishery is subject to total allowable catches (TAC) issued by the CFP, attending advice by INIDEP. The TAC is then allocated to stakeholders as individual quota where San Arawa holds one of the main shares.

The fishery is MSC certified and the companies San Arawa S.A., Weidao Weihai Foods and McDonald’s China have decided to team up with CeDePesca with the aim of designing a FIP with the ultimate goal of achieving a green status of the fishery against the McDonald’s procurement policy.

Progress Update


July 2020

On July 16th and 17th, San Arawa, Weidao Weihai Foods, McDonald’s China and CeDePesca signed a Framework Agreement and Specific Agreement Nr. 1 to implement a Fishery Improvement Project for the Argentine hoki fishery. The aim of the project is to achieve and maintain a green status against the McDonald’s procurement policy.

August – October 2020

Communications are ongoing with INIDEP researchers from the Program of Southern and Sub-Antarctic Demersal Fisheries.  Regarding the otolith microchemistry study, the researchers have stated that the results are about to be published.  In addition, the study will be repeated next year using a different methodology, and with the possibility of conducting the lab analysis in Chile.  Regarding the research campaigns, the researchers commented on the inconveniences that exist to carry out the campaigns, mainly due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the hoki research campaign is still scheduled to take place in 2021. 

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

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