Fish and fisheries research

The cod end of a trawl net full of Patagonian toothfish.

The cod end of a trawl net full of Patagonian toothfish.
Photo: AFMA

We study the biology and population structure of Southern Ocean fishes, and their role in the broader ecosystem. Our main focus is research on commercially fished species in the Southern Ocean.

Large-scale fishing in the Southern Ocean began in the 1960s. During the first few decades, fishing was largely unregulated. This resulted in several species of fishes, (such as the marbled rock cod (Notothenia rossi)) being driven to such low numbers that they can no longer be commercially fished.

Many countries that fish in the Southern Ocean, including Australia, are now members of treaties such as CCAMLR (the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources). CCAMLR aims to prevent unregulated fishing in the Southern Ocean. Permitted fishing is managed using all available scientific knowledge to minimise the risk of fishing causing further damage to:

An Australian trawler used to fish for toothfish and icefish in the Southern Ocean.

An Australian trawler used to fish for toothfish and icefish in the Southern Ocean.
Photo: AFMA

  • fish stocks
  • the ecosystems in which fishes are a critical component

Australia manages fisheries in the Southern Ocean of two fish species:

The Australian fishery catches toothfish around Macquarie Island. Both toothfish and mackerel icefish are fished around the Heard and McDonald islands. Patagonian toothfish are caught using trawl nets or hooked on longlines, while icefish are caught exclusively using trawl nets.

Related articles:

Sub-Antarctic toothfish fishery certified sustainable (June 2012)

This page was last modified on 9 March 2007.