Seabird and marine mammal interactions with the Ross Sea toothfish fishery
Project: Seabird and marine mammal interactions with the Ross Sea toothfish fishery
Project Code: ANT2004/03
Start Date: 1 October 2004
Completion Date: 30 September 2005
Vessel Use: None
- To describe seabird and marine mammal interactions with the toothfish fishery in the Ross Sea.
To describe seabird abundance and distribution in the Ross Sea in relation to fishing effort.
To describe the nature and extent of seabird interaction with fishing activity in the Ross Sea.
To describe marine mammal abundance and distribution in the Ross Sea in relation to fishing effort.
To describe the nature and extent of marine mammal interaction with fishing activity in the Ross Sea.
The final scope of this project and the specific objectives will be determined after the October 2004 meeting of the CCAMLR Working Group on Fish Stock Assessment (WG-FSA).
Depending on the extent of activity by New Zealand fishers in the 2004-05 summer, some of the specific objectives may need to focus on CCAMLR areas other than the Ross Sea.
Toothfish are the major finfish resource currently exploited in the Southern Ocean, with only krill exceeding the catch in recent years. There are two species of toothfish, both with a circumpolar distribution.
Patagonian toothfish D. eleginoides
are generally found north of 65° S and Antarctic toothfish D. mawsoni
generally south of 65° S, although there is overlap in some areas, notably in the northern Ross Sea, on the South Orkney/Antarctic Peninsula and on the southern Kerguelen Plateau. The fishery in Antarctic waters is managed through the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
Longline and trawl fisheries have begun and continue to be developed by the United Kingdom, France, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and others both inside EEZ waters and in other CCAMLR waters. In recent years, permits have been approved for New Zealand companies to fish in the Ross Sea (CCAMLR sub-area 88.1 and sub-area 88.2). In more southerly waters, D. mawsoni forms a greater proportion of the catch.
CCAMLR has previously recommended a number of research priorities for toothfish to be undertaken by member countries; these focus on the provision of accurate catch and effort statistics, target and non-target species biology, fishery/ecosystem interaction issues and estimating productivity and abundance of the target stocks.
The project will depend on co-operation of the New Zealand industry and on international collaboration, and will integrate with projects carried out by other CCAMLR member countries. This integration and co-ordination is undertaken by the Ministry of Fisheries Science Group and does not form a part of this research programme.
This project compliments the wide range of mitigation research currently underway in cooperation with fishers and Australian researchers within the Ross Sea. The output is used in a risk assessment that currently allows daylight setting in the Ross Sea (the current assessment is based on old seabird data derived from an earlier version of this project). A direct reassessment of that risk of incidental seabird mortality will result from this project. That reassessment will either increase, maintain or decrease assessed risk levels in 88.1 and will result directly in management change in the fishery. This type of review of data is fundamental to being able to undertake mitigation research in future (e.g. the current integrated line weighting trials in 88.1 rely on the data from the previous iteration of this project). CCAMLR has identified this type of review as a priority in redesigning observer work programmes.
To date no incidental seabird captures have been observed on the New Zealand vessels involved in the Ross Sea toothfish fishery (direct observer coverage has been ~99% of all sets and ~45% of all hauls). Seabird presence and abundance at the species level has been recorded in considerable detail by observers. CCAMLR uses seabird distribution information to determine the ‘risk’ level attributed to various fisheries for seabird/fishery activities based on at sea distribution data. This project would involve updating the earlier similar analysis based on CCAMLR and Ministry of Fisheries observer data. Any modelling of recent tracking data that suggests certain species do/do not forage in the Ross Sea should also be documented as a part of the analysis.
Observer data provide considerable detail about the behaviour of seabirds when observed near vessels. These data should be synthesised into a descriptive characterisation of the nature and extent of seabird interaction with fishing activity in the Ross Sea.
Objectives 3 & 4
Marine mammal observations from fishing vessels and interactions with fishing vessels are relatively rare in the Ross Sea. Available fisher and observer data should be synthesised to provide a descriptive characterisation of marine mammal abundance and distribution in the Ross Sea in relation to fishing effort, and the nature and extent of seabird interaction with fishing activity in the Ross Sea.
The Ross Sea fishery is an exploratory fishery. CCAMLR expects research in exploratory fisheries to be conducted to meet management requirements. This project directly meets CCAMLR management requirements.
All the objectives in this project are consistent with the Antarctic Fisheries Medium Term Research Plan and the Strategic Framework and Directions for Fisheries research Contracted by the Ministry of Fisheries document.
Cost Recovery Information:
This project is 100% Crown funded.
The project is estimated to cost between $50,000 - $100,000.