Fishery Improvement Project
Last Update: January 2019
Species: Argentine red shrimp, Patagonian shrimp (Pleoticus muelleri)
FIP Stage according to CASS Progress Table: 4, FIP is delivering improvement in policies or practices
FIP Rating according to SFP rating system: A (Exceptional Progress, Jan 2019)
FIP Rating according to MSC benchmarking tool: Initial (Jul 2015): 0.63; Second (Jul 2017): 0.77; Third (Jul 2018): 0.79; Actual (March 2019): 0.85
FIP Profile at FisheryProgress.org: Argentina onshore red shrimp – bottom trawl (Jan 2019)
Fishery location: Provincial waters in the province of Chubut, Argentina. FAO zone: 41
Sustainability information: Profile at Fishsource.com
Other references: Sealifebase – Pleoticus muelleri
Publicly Announced Date: August 2015
Current Improvement Recommendations:
- To characterize the interaction between the coastal fleet and bycatch species in Chubut’s provincial waters.
- To study the interaction between the fishery and the sea bottom, and its potential impacts on the ecosystem.
- To promote a systematic coordination among the different jurisdictions that define the management of this fishery resource.
- To promote a formal and regular assessment of the efficacy of the fishery’s management system.
The Patagonian shrimp (Pleoticus muelleri) fishery is the main crustacean fishery in Argentina and one of the most important marine resources in the Southwest Atlantic. In accordance with National Law Nº 24.922, Argentinean provinces have jurisdiction over the exploitation of living resources populating their interior waters and the Argentine sea adjacent to their coasts up to 12 nautical miles, measured from baselines, which allows for the characterization of provincial fisheries.
A fleet of coastal vessels of length less than 21m operates the fishery addressed by this FIP, using bottom-trawling nets along the coastal waters of the province of Chubut, mainly in the Restricted Fishing Effort Zone between Punta León and Cabo Dos Bahías (see fishery location map above). This coastal fleet has Rawson Port as its landing point and it conducts daily fishing trips from October to March.
In the 1980s, the National Institute for Fishery Research and Development (Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero, INIDEP) started studies geared toward Patagonian shrimp at a national level. The studies have shown that Pleoticus muelleri reproductive cycle occurs throughout the Patagonian coastal waters, and is concentrated at three sectors: south of Rawson, north of San Jorge Gulf and south of San Jorge Gulf. In these locations, the reproductive process has different starting dates and different intensities and time lengths (De Carli et al., 2012), which would point to the existence of Patagonian shrimp sub-stocks. However, evidence is not enough to properly differentiate them and therefore the fishery is currently managed as if it relied on a single stock, requiring coordination in management between provincial jurisdictions (Chubut and Santa Cruz) and the federal jurisdiction in national waters.
In Chubut, there are management measures for Patagonian shrimp, namely mobile closures that are set in response to the stock status in real time. These closures are complemented by measures set at the national level and founded on the information provided by INIDEP and by Chubut’s Onboard Observers Program.
The Patagonian shrimp fishery produced landings of around 80 thousand metric tons in the period 2009/2013, surpassing the historical record in 2013 with landings above 100 thousand metric tons. The participation of the coastal fleet based at the Rawson Port has been around 20% during the last five years.
Regarding bycatch, contrary to the off-shore fishery, the coastal fishery based at Rawson is almost mono-specific. In 2013, 96.6% of the total landings was composed of Patagonian shrimp, and the remaining 3.4% was Argentine hake (Merluccius hubbsi) (INIDEP, 2013).
- To design and implement and Onboard Observers Program for the coastal fleet to gather data on bycatch.
- To conduct and Ecological Risk Assessment for the Effects of Fishing to serve as input to the management system and to an MSC full assessment.
- To promote the development of a minimum coordination protocol for fishery research and management among the different jurisdictions involved in the fishery’s administration.
- To raise awareness among and involve crew members in research activities related to the FIP.
- To promote the regular assessment of the efficacy of the fishery’s management system.
- To obtain an MSC certification for the unit of assessment addressed by this FIP.
In October, interested stakeholders decided to build a FIP and to hire an MSC Pre-Assessment of the fishery, in order to obtain a more detailed diagnostic of the obstacles to its sustainability and define a detailed Action Plan.
In July, Bureau Veritas delivered its first draft for the fishery’s MSC pre-assessment.
In August, FIP participants signed a Framework Collaboration Agreement and Specific Agreement N°1 to formalize their commitment to the FIP and to define a Workplan.
In September, Bureau Veritas handed the MSC pre-assessment final report. FIP partners and CeDePesca held a meeting with the National Undersecretary of Fisheries, where the fishery’s strengths and weaknesses were discussed. It was agreed that FIP partners will collaborate in the promotion of a more robust inter-jurisdictional coordination mechanism during the following months.
Also in September, CeDePesca started to prepare the Onboard Observer program to be run by the FIP.
On November 4th, the first meeting with skippers, onboard observers and FIP partners was held in the city of Rawson, province of Chubut.
In January, the Onboard Observers Program officially started under the coordination of CeDePesca and with support from the Patagonian National University. The first samples were taken on board of the vessel “Calabria” (Conarpesa): In total, there are 36 ships of the coastal fleet of Rawson involved in this project.
By the end of the fishing season on March 31st, 294 hauls were observed during 67 fishing trips onboard vessels associated to FIP partners. The information collected includes data on bycatch and PET species interaction, which will be analyzed and published soon.
On April 27th, a press conference was held during the Brussels Seafood Expo Global, where CeDePesca updated stakeholders, buyers and other interested parties on the advances of the FIP. Argentina’s Undersecretary of Fisheries, Mr. Tomás Gerpe, attended this conference and took the opportunity to pledge the government’s support for improvement efforts.
On May 13th, the preliminary results from the Onboard Observers Program were presented to FIP partners.
The final report complete with analyses related to the interaction of the fishery with non-target species was presented to skippers and onboard observers on June 24th in the city of Rawson, and to representatives of the federal Undersecretariat of Fisheries on June 27th in the city of Buenos Aires. The report is available to the public here (in English).
During FAO’s 32nd Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) held in Rome between July 11th and 15th, the Undersecretary of Fisheries at the federal level once again reiterated his support for the FIP.
In August, the Fisheries Federal Council convened the Commission for the Follow-up of the Argentine red shrimp fishery. The meeting will be held at the FFC’s headquarters in Buenos Aires on August 26th.
In preparation for the meeting, Chubut’s Governor, Chubut’s Secretary of Fisheries and other staff met with representatives from Chubut’s fishing sector on August 24th at the House of Government in Rawson. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Patagonian Chamber of Fishing Industries (CAPIP), the Argentine Vessel-Owners Chamber (CAPeCA), the Chubut’s Fishing Chamber (CAPEC), the coastal fleet, the artisanal fleet, and by FIP partners Conarpesa, Iberpesca and Pesquera Veraz
Chubut has agreed to require federal authorities to design a long-term Management Plan for red shrimp. Authorities have announced that their first request to be made at the Fisheries Federal Council’s Commission for the Follow-Up of the Argentine Red Shrimp Fishery will be for it to design and implement an inter-jurisdictional management plan, and an inter-jurisdictional commission,, in order to issue those legal measures needed to promote the process of certification for Argentine red shrimp and for the provincial and federal governments to agree measures on the resources exploitation and preservation.
In September, the Argentine Undersecretary of Fisheries, Mr. Tomás Gerpe, once again publicly expressed the federal government’s intention of adopting a comprehensive management plan for Argentine red shrimp.
Also in September, the Argentine Undersecretariat of Fisheries issued Disposition N° 78-E/2016 mandating that Argentine red shrimp is included under the catch-certificate program as of November 1st, 2016. The program was set up in December 2014 and has been regularly expanded to include more species.
On the other hand, in late August, after more than a year of successful partnership, the Patagonian National University of San Juan Bosco and CeDePesca signed a Framework Collaboration Agreement formalizing the alliance; and, in early September, FIP Partners agreed on Specific Agreement N°2, setting up the workplan for the second stage of this project.
October 2016 – December 2016
In October, FIP partners welcomed Consermar as a new partner to the FIP.
On October 18th, CeDePesca held a meeting with Chubut’s Secretary of Fisheries, Mr. Alberto Gilardino, and his staff. The meeting was also attended by Dr. María Eva Góngora on behalf of the Patagonian National University of San Juan Bosco. The topics addressed during the meeting included an introduction to the FIP’s creation, its goals and its advances to date, as well as on the goals of the private Onboard Observers Program and the interest of stakeholders in supporting the province’s push for an inter-jurisdictional management plan for Argentine red shrimp. The Secretary and his staff expressed their support for the FIP and their interest in helping advance its goals, including the signature of an agreement between the Secretariat and CeDePesca.
Also in October, this FIP’s Onboard Observers Program has restarted for the 2016-2017 fishing season.
On November 8th, the Governor of Chubut appointed Dr. Adrián Awstin as Chubut’s new Secretary of Fisheries. CeDePesca sent a formal letter of congratulations and asked for a meeting to brief him on the progress of the FIP. A collaboration agreement between the province’s Secretariat of Fisheries and CeDePesca continues to be discussed.
In December, CeDePesca finished a compilation of technical reports issued by INIDEP (National Institute for Fisheries Research and Development) in the last twelve years. These reports are being analyzed to extract any data that would be useful to assess the evolution of the stock’s abundance in recent years.
January – March 2017
In January, CeDePesca completed a Consequence Spatial Analysis (CSA) for this fishery in light of information compiled on habitats. The CSA was conducted following the methodology as described in the MSC Certification Requirements v2.0 in order to better understand the potential risks posed by the fishery to the main habitats encountered by the bottom-trawling fleet. The analysis showed that the fishery poses a low risk to the coastal margin sub-biome and a medium risk to the inner shelf sub-biome, both characterized by sediment plains featuring fine, simple surface structures and small invertebrate communities (the full report is available to the public here).
In January, the analysis of the data compiled from INIDEP technical reports was completed. A report on preliminary indicators of the evolution of the Argentine red shrimp stock is now being drafted by CeDePesca.
In February, a letter was sent to the National Undersecretary of Fisheries to request a historical assessment of the stock’s abundance to determine if its exploitation rate is in line with its maximum sustainable yield or a proxy. The letter also asks for the preparation of a weekly CPUE series for each fleet stratum between 2004 and 2016. The weekly CPUE series would serve as an additional tool for the analysis of the evolution of the stock.
In addition, CeDePesca, on behalf of FIP partners, sent another letter to the National Undersecretary of Fisheries to request the resumption of INIDEP’s fishery-independent surveys. The Undersecretary provided a formal answer to the aforementioned letter, stating that the survey has been scheduled to start in March with cooperation of the private sector.
On March 3rd, the Fisheries Federal Council met in the city of Buenos Aires and reviewed INIDEP’s independent survey plan. The plan was designed and agreed with the private sector, who provided a fishing vessel to be used as a scientific cruiser, as well as funds to carry out the survey. The selected fishing vessel was the Bogavante Segundo, owned by FIP partner Iberconsa. It should be noted that FIP partners Iberconsa and Newsan both offered their vessels to conduct the survey, and INIDEP researchers made their choice based on research criteria. The survey had a duration of 15 workdays and ended on March 23rd.
On March 22nd, the Argentine Chamber of Freezing Vessel Owners (CAPeCA) -to which several FIP partners are affiliated- sent a letter to the Fisheries Federal Council (CFP) asking for the summoning of the Commission for the Follow-up of the Argentine red shrimp fishery. The Fisheries Federal Council has instructed that this request is taken into account in the definition of the meeting agenda for 2017 (CFP Meeting Minute N°8-2017).
On March 29th, the Argentine Patagonian Chamber of Fishing Industries (CAPIP) -to which several FIP partners are affiliated- expressed its support for further research on Argentine red shrimp and the impacts of the ice-chilling fleet.
April – June 2017
On April 10th, the Chubut’s Secretariat of Fisheries was updated on the advances of the FIP, in order to agree on points where the entity might contribute to the project.
On April 17th, the Onboard Observers Program for the 2017 fishing season had its last trip, aboard Pesquera Veraz’s fishing vessel “Virgen del Milagro”.
Also in April, FIP partners and CeDePesca attended the Brussels Seafood Show, where advances of the project were presented to international stakeholders.
On May 3rd, the Commission for the Follow-up of the Argentine red shrimp fishery held its first meeting of the year. The Undersecretariat of Fisheries presented a report on the fishery’s evolution from 2011 to date.
In June, the CFP agreed to grant Chubut and Santa Cruz an extra quota of 2,300 mt to each, in exchange for the setting of fishing closure zones in the San Jorge Gulf during the year 2017.
On June 21st, CeDePesca attended a hearing at the CFP to present the FIP’s goals and progress and to encourage the implementation of a management plan for the fishery. In addition, the results from the Onboard Observers Program for the 2016-2017 fishing season were presented and compared with those from the 2015-2016 fishing season.
Also in June, an informal meeting with INIDEP researchers responsible for the shrimp fishery was held. The improvements needed in research were discussed, including the request for a historical assessment of Argentine red shrimp’s stock in relation to biological reference points.
July – September 2017
In early August, the national Undersecretariat of Fisheries formally requested the Fisheries Federal Council (CFP) to conform a special workgroup to draft a management plan for the fishery. The CFP replied that an agenda will be discussed in subsequent meetings.
On August 18th, CeDePesca sent a formal letter to the Undersecretary of Fisheries at the national level on behalf of FIP partners, to reiterate the request for the estimation of standardized weekly CPUE series for the ice-chilling fleet and the Rawson fleet from 2004 to 2016, as a tool to analyze the evolution of the stock. On September 18th, the Undersecretary formally replied that the Undersecretariat will not be able to produce the required series with the data currently available to the entity, but suggests that the request is made to INIDEP.
On August 31st, CeDePesca -on behalf of FIP partners- presented a letter to the CFP to encourage improvements needed to achieve a certifiable status for the Argentine red shrimp fishery. Among the items discussed in the letter are: (i) the need to formalize the criteria for the opening and closure of the fishery, as well as fishery specific objectives, (ii) the need for regular data exchanges between national and provincial jurisdictions, (iii) the need to set up regular meetings of the Commission for the Follow-up of the Argentine red shrimp fishery; (iv) the need for setting biological reference points and the estimation of stock status indicators.
On September 5th, the Commission for the Follow-up of the Argentine red shrimp fishery met. At this meeting, the representatives from the province of Chubut and FIP partners once again expressed the need to draft and adopt a management plan for the fishery. It should be noted that fishery stakeholders have already begun to express their interest in participating from the technical group that shall be set up to draft the plan.
Also during this quarter, CeDePesca and FIP partners have been organizing a stakeholders meeting in Rawson, where fishery managers, researchers, fishers and other interested parties will be discussing improvement needs and the FIP’s progress. The meeting took place on September 25th.
October – December 2017
During October, FIP partners defined the vessels that will be available for the private Onboard Observers Program during the 2017-2018 season. The vessels are: Virgen del Milagro (Pesquera Veraz); Deseado (Cabo Vírgenes); Trabajamos (Cabo Vírgenes); Vamos a Probar I (Iberpesca); Rayo de Sol (Iberpesca); Valeria Alejandra (Iberpesca); Itatí (Food Partners); Nathanael (Food Partners); Doña Ruth (Food Partners); Misal (Consermar-Newsan); Sagrario (Consermar-Newsan).
On October 18th, CeDePesca participated of INIDEP’s meeting in Rawson city. The results of Survey BS-01/2017 were presented: “Spatial distribution of biomass and shrimp recruitment process (Pleoticus muelleri) in the San Jorge Gulf and the Chubut north coast”.
On October 19th, CeDePesca held a meeting with the technical team of Chubut’s Secretariat of Fisheries to expedite the bureaucratic procedures to sign a collaboration agreement.
On November 1st, CeDePesca requested, through the administrative head of the Fisheries Federal Council, access to several communications presented by INIDEP. These communications helped to guide the decision-making process regarding the management measures in the shrimp fishery at the time, and would portrait the technical opinion of INIDEP in matters such as the possibility of opening fishing areas in national waters within the Juvenile Hake Closed Area. Recommendations issued by INIDEP for opening and closure of the fishing areas would include criteria such as the percentage of hake bycatch, in addition to abundance and shrimp size structure. This information would be useful for the design of a proposal for a harvest control rule based on reference points or proxies that mirrors as much as possible the methodology already used by the fishery managers.
On November 9th, the second survey “Red shrimp survey in the San Jorge Gulf and coasts of Chubut – Spring 2017” began on board the commercial vessel Bogavante Segundo, owned by FIP partner Iberconsa.
On November 11th, the private Onboard Observers Program for the 2017-2018 fishing season begun onboard the vessel “Virgen del Milagro”, owned by FIP partner Pesquera Veraz.
From November 21st to 23rd, CeDePesca made a presentation of the results of the Consequence Spatial Analysis conducted for the onshore Argentine red shrimp fishery in 2016 during the XVIII Scientific Symposium of the Mixed Technical Commission for the Argentine-Uruguayan Maritime Front. This meeting convened authorities, specialists, technicians and interested parties from the scientific community and the fishing sector.
On November 22nd, the Secretary of Fisheries of Chubut, Dr. Adrián Awstin, presented the proposal to move forward with the red shrimp Management Plan at the meeting of the Federal Fisheries Council.
On November 30th, the Fisheries Federal Council (CFP) announced it will start work to define a Management Plan for the Argentine red shrimp fishery and that it would initiate an exchange with the representatives of different business chambers. For the purpose of these meetings, the CFP will travel to the provinces between December 2017 and March 2018.
On December 7th, the first of the aforementioned meetings took place in the city of Mar del Plata (province of Buenos Aires). The Fisheries Federal Council met with the Association of Coastal Fishing Boats, UDIPA, CAFREXPORT, CAIPA and the Cámara de Armadores de Buques Pesqueros de Altura. The following scales of this route during February and March 2018 are to be Port Madryn, Port Deseado and Port San Antonio.
Also during this quarter, the signature process of Specific Agreement No. 3 for the implementation of the FIP during a third year begun, and FIP partners welcomed La Escalerona to the FIP.
January – March 2018
Regarding the design of a Management Plan for the fishery, on January 31st and February 1st, the Fisheries Federal Council (CFP) held meetings in Puerto Madryn and Rawson city, with representatives of several fishing sector chambers established in the province of Chubut (Cámara Argentina Patagónica de Industrias Pesqueras – CAPIP), Cámara Pesquera de Chubut – CAPECH, Cámara de la Flota Artesanal de Puerto Rawson, Cámara de Empresas Portuarias de Comodoro Rivadavia, Cámara de la Flota Amarilla de Puerto Rawson) and other independent fishing companies. On February 28th and March 1st, the CFP visited the province of Santa Cruz to hold meetings in Puerto Deseado city with representatives of the fishing industry chamber Cámara de Pesqueros Congeladores de la Argentina (Ca.Pe.CA) and independent fishing companies in that province.
On the other hand, in January, INIDEP launched a 26-day campaign to assess the abundance of common hake (Merluccius hubbsi) in Patagonian waters, and to determine the summer distribution of Patagonian shrimp in the Gulf of San Jorge and external waters. This research campaign took place on board the research vessel Dr. Eduardo L. Holmberg, property of INIDEP. Later, on March 14th, the fishing vessel Bogavante Segundo, property of FIP partner Iberpesca, carried INIDEP researchers to conduct the third red shrimp survey campaign in the San Jorge Gulf and Chubut coast that is made with support from the private sector.
Regarding improvements to fishery research, on February 21st, CeDePesca and FIP partners coordinator, Mr. Federico Angeleri, met with authorities of INIDEP and the research team dedicated to the Patagonian red shrimp fishery. During this meeting, data requests related to Catch per Unit of Effort and a historical analysis of the evolution of the stock against biological reference points were reiterated. Data regarding bycatch levels was also requested. Researchers committed to consider the matter and provide an answer shortly.
On the other hand, on March 13th, a meeting was held at the Seafood Expo North America, where the advances in the Argentine red shrimp offshore FIP were presented at the Boston Convention Center.
Also during this quarter, a collaboration agreement was signed between the Secretariat of Fisheries of Chubut and CeDePesca, to advance together towards FIP’s objective. Currently, discussions are being held to find ways of helping the Secretariat in digitalizing fishing logbooks in order to estimate a standardized weekly-CPUE series for the Rawson fleet that would be helpful as an abundance indicator.
April – July 2018
On April 4th, the FFC meetings with different chambers and companies, continued within the framework of red shrimp Management Plan, during the visit to Río Negro province, which held meetings in Las Grutas, with representatives of independent companies and with representatives of artisan sector.
On April 10th the last boarding of observers was made, ending the fishing season 2017-2018.
On April 26th the preliminary advances in the Argentine red shrimp onshore FIP were presented at Seafood Expo Global, in Brussels. with the participation of Chubut Fisheries Secretary.
On May 11th, a note was sent to INIDEP’s authorities, insisting on the request for catch and effort data. In this note the alternative of financing the work was offered with the contribution from FIP members. On June 28th, a second note was send. There was no official notification yet, although through informal contacts it has been reported that INIDEP authorities will soon offer an estimated development plan and budget for this task.
On May 14th, it was agreed with the FIP partners to make an extra contribution to cover the data digitization expenses from Fisheries Secretariat of Chubut, which will allow the elaboration of indicators of abundance in this fishery. During July, the task of digitizing the provincial fishing forms began.
On May 17th, the Federal Fisheries Council issued the Resolution No. 7/2018, which establishes the management measures for the red shrimp fishery. The main points are: to maintain the commitment of Chubut and Santa Cruz not to allow the capture of red shrimp throughout San Jorge Gulf for the current year, and up to a period of 5 years, as well as length requirements of up to 40m and power up to 2,000 HP and the minimum size of the 45 mm malleus between opposite knots. It also establishes the obligatory nature of the use of the selectivity device when the hake / shrimp catch ratio exceeds the maximum value established by INIDEP. And it adds that in case of catches reduction, equivalent to 50% or more of the average of the last 5 years, a Contingency Plan will be applied.On June 21th, CeDePesca filed a statement with the authorities stating its position regarding the management measures resolved.
On July 23th, the Spatial Analysis of Consequences corresponding to the 2016-2017 fishing season was completed.
August – December 2018
On August 15th, the Secretariat of Fisheries of Chubut authorized the carrying out of a survey in the Restricted Fishing Effort Zone (ZEPR), through Resolution No. 220/2018. Eight boats participated, at an unusual time for Chubut.
On September 5th, after consulting with the partners, CeDePesca presented a letter to Federal Fisheries Council requesting a Commission meeting.
From 19th to 21th September, the Spatial Analysis of Consequences was presented at the BioPat2018 Conference, held from September 19 to 21 in Trelew, Chubut. The results presented correspond to the fishing season 2016-2017.
During September 2018, meetings were held with the Fisheries Secretariat of Chubut, where the proposed changes were discussed for the collection of fund data in the observer’s sample forms.
Efforts were continued to achieve the INIDEP’s participation: on October 24 CeDePesca presented a new note requesting an abundance analysis of red shrimp fishery. As of the date of this report, there was still no response.
On November 9th, the red shrimp survey was carried out by INIDEP researchers, who evaluated the fishery on Bogavante Segundo vessel, owned by Iberpesca partner. A survey was made in San Jorge Gulf and Chubut coast, to know the breeding stock that remained.
On December 3rd, the Director of Pelagic Fisheries and Marine Environment contacted CeDePesca to inform they had already prepared a proposal and budget to develop the abundance analysis of red shrimp fishery, but that proposal was subject to the new auditor designation. On December 21th, the National Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, together with the Undersecretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture, presented Mr. Héctor Marcelo Lobbosco, as INIDEP’s Director.