Trace element fingerprints of edge and core regions in otoliths from 260 specimens of Patagonian hoki, Macruronus magellanicus L??nnberg, 1907, were analyzed by LA-ICPMS to reveal whether this species forms one or more population units (stocks) in the Southern Oceans. Fish were caught on their spawning grounds in Chile and feeding grounds in Chile and the Falkland Islands. Univariate and multivariate analyses of trace element concentrations in the otolith edges, which relate to the adult life of fish, could not distinguish between Atlantic (Falkland) and Pacific (Chile) hoki. Cluster analyses of element concentrations in the otolith edges produced three different clusters in all sample areas indicating high mixture of the stocks. Cluster analysis of trace element concentrations in the otolith cores, relating to juvenile and larval life stages, produced two separate clusters mainly distinguished by 137Ba concentrations. The results suggest that Patagonian hoki is a highly mixed fish stock with at least two spawning grounds around South America. ?? 2009 Elsevier B.V.