FAO Home>Fisheries & Aquaculture
FAO of the UN
Micromesistius australis:   (click for more)

See tree map  display tree map
  • Micromesistius australis australis  Inada & Nakamura, 1975
  • Micromesistius australis pallidus  Inada & Nakamura, 1975
    FAO Names
    En - Southern blue whiting, Fr - Merlan bleu austral, Sp - Polaca austral.
    3Alpha Code: POS     Taxonomic Code: 1480403302
    Scientific Name with Original Description
    Micromesistius australis  Norman, 1937, Discovery Rept., 16: 51.
    Diagnostic Features
    Gill rakers on first arch 38 to 48. 
    Geographical Distribution
    There are two disjunct populations, one of which (M. a. australis) is found from about 38°S to nearly 62°S around the Falkland/Malvinas Islands and Argentine Patagonia in the western South Atlantic; also off South Georgia, South Shetland and South Orkney Islands and in the southeastern Pacific, off Chile; the other population (M. a. pallidus) lives on the various banks and rises around the South Island of New Zealand.
    Habitat and Biology
    Benthopelagic to pelagicat depths of about 70 to 800 m, invading the shelf 60° waters during summer and concentrating over the continental slope in winter. The New Zealand population is most abundant at 500 m (range: 180 to 800 m), the Argentine fishes at about 200 m (range: 70 to 620 m).In warm summers, the population of the Falkland/Malvinas current (on the Patagonian shelves of Argentina and southern Chile) migrates southward to S. Georgia, S. Shetland Islands, Elephant Island and the northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula.Up to 30 cm length, all fish are males, at 50 cm females and males are in the same proportion, and larger than 50 cm 90% are females.
    Spawning occurs from June to July in New Zealand and spring to early summer in Patagonia and the Falkland/Malvinas Islands.  Growth rate differs by sex with females larger than males: 1 year = 13 cm; 2 years = 22 cm; 3 years = 29 cm; 10 years = 50 cm females and 47 cm males.The young feed on euphausids and amphipods and occasionally on copepods, cephalopods, octopods and small fish.
    Reaching 90 cm total length, common to 60 cm.
    Interest to Fisheries
    Catches of Micromesistius australis are reported from areas 41 (128,727 t in 1995), 81 (32,322 t) and 87 (20,917 t). In area 41 most of the catches are taken by Argentina, the rest by distant fishing fleets. Caught with mid-water trawl and bottom trawl mostly on the Patagonian/Fuegan shelf, off Argentina, and off the southern shelf of New Zealand. Also very abundant around Elephant and S. Orkney Islands. The total catch reported for this species to FAO for 1999 was 167 282 t. The countries with the largest catches were Argentina (55 097 t) and New Zealand (39 012 t).
    Utilized mainly in frozen blocks and as fish meal.
    Local Names
    ARGENTINA : Polaca .
    CHILE : Merluza de tres aletas .
    Source of Information
    FAO species catalogue. Vol.10. Gadiform Fishes of the world (Order Gadiformes). An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of Cods, Hakes, Grenadiers and other Gadiform Fishes Known to Date.Daniel M.Cohen Tadashi Inada Tomio Iwamoto Nadia Scialabba 1990.  FAO Fisheries Synopsis. No. 125, Vol.10. Rome, FAO. 1990. 442p.
    Bellisio, Lopez & Tomo, (1979)
    Inada, (1986)
    Inada & Nakamura, (1975)
    Lopez & Bellisio, (1973)
    Powered by FIGIS