, Volume 152, Issue 1, pp 135-147
Date: 29 Mar 2007

Distribution and diet of juvenile Patagonian toothfish on the South Georgia and Shag Rocks shelves (Southern Ocean)

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Abstract

The distribution and diet of juvenile (<750 mm) Patagonian toothfish are described from four annual trawl surveys (2003–2006) around the island of South Georgia in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean. Recruitment of toothfish varies inter-annually, and a single large cohort dominated during the four years surveyed. Most juveniles were caught on the Shag Rocks shelf to the NW of South Georgia, with fish subsequently dispersing to deeper water around both the South Georgia and Shag Rocks shelves. Mean size of juvenile toothfish increased with depth of capture. Stomach contents analysis was conducted on 795 fish that contained food remains and revealed that juvenile toothfish are essentially piscivorous, with the diet dominated by notothenid fish. The yellow-finned notothen, Patagonotothen guntheri, was the dominant prey at Shag Rocks whilst at South Georgia, where P. guntheri is absent, the dominant prey were Antarctic krill and notothenid fish. The diet changed with size, with an increase in myctophid fish and krill as toothfish grow and disperse. The size of prey also increased with fish size, with a greater range of prey sizes consumed by larger fish.

Communicated by O. Kinne.