Remotely sensed mesoscale oceanography and the distribution of Illex argentinus in the South Atlantic
In this study, we consider the influence of mesoscale oceanographic processes around the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) in the South-west Atlantic, during the period in which the commercial squid fishery for Illex argentinus operates. Spatially referenced fishery data and satellite-derived advanced very high resolution radiometry (AVHRR) sea surface temperature (SST) data were examined using geographic information system (GIS) techniques. The distribution and relative abundance of I. argentinus in the Falkland Islands fishery was examined for the period 1989–96. Three consistent areas of high abundance were observed to the north-east (shelf-break region) and north-west (shelf region) of the islands, and close to the northern coast of East Falkland. Areas of high sea surface temperature gradients (thermal gradients) extracted from remotely sensed satellite images were used as an indicator of mesoscale oceanographic activity and compared with the location of the fishery. I. argentinus were found to be associated with areas of thermal gradients, commonly seen at the interface of Falkland Current and Patagonian shelf waters. The techniques used in this analysis allow the overlay and analysis of physical oceanographic and fishery data with potential applications in fisheries management and operational fisheries oceanography.