Polar Biology

, Volume 30, Issue 12, pp 1523–1533 | Cite as

Distribution and ecology of Chaenocephalus aceratus (Channichthyidae) around South Georgia and Shag Rocks (Southern Ocean)

  • William D. K. Reid
  • Sarah Clarke
  • Martin A. CollinsEmail author
  • Mark Belchier
Original Paper


Chaenocephalus aceratus (Family Channicthyidae) is one of the dominant species of demersal fish living on the South Georgia shelf where it is caught in low numbers as by-catch in the mackerel icefish and Antarctic krill commercial fisheries. Data collected during 14 demersal fish surveys, from 1986 to 2006, are analysed to investigate biomass, distribution, growth and diet. Biomass estimates from a swept area method ranged from 4,462 to 28,740 tonnes on the South Georgia and Shag Rock shelves although few fish were caught at Shag Rocks. Analysis of length frequency data indicated that growth was fast in the first five years with males and females attaining lengths at first spawning of 440 mm TL and 520 mm TL. The diet was comprised of fish and crustaceans, with an ontogenetic shift in diet from Euphausia superba and mysids to benthic fish and decapods observed to begin at 250 mm TL. In larger fish (>500 mm TL) the diet was dominated by fish. C. aceratus diet is sufficiently different from the other species of channichthyids around South Georgia to suggest that these species have undergone resource partitioning.


Age Growth Ontogenetic Resource partitioning Scotia Sea icefish 



We would like to thank the captains, crews and scientists who have been involved in South Georgia and Shag Rocks trawl surveys since 1986. The first two surveys were undertaken as part of the United States Antarctic Marine Living Resources Programme, the third was a joint UK/Poland survey and the remainder supported by the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. This work was carried out at the British Antarctic Survey Applied Fisheries Laboratory at King Edward Point, South Georgia, under contract to the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. This is a contribution to the BAS Discovery 2010 programme.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • William D. K. Reid
    • 1
  • Sarah Clarke
    • 1
  • Martin A. Collins
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mark Belchier
    • 1
  1. 1.Biological Sciences DivisionBritish Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research CouncilCambridgeUK

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