Australian science in CCAMLR

This graphic shows the environmental (physical, chemical and human) processes affecting the krill-based food web in the more southerly latitudes of the subantarctic, and the copepod-fish-based food web further north.
Australian Antarctic research treats krill, finfish and other living resources of the Southern Ocean as an integrated system. (Image: Melbourne-Thomas et al)
The curve of the horizon can be seen, with penguins really close to the camera lens.

The Australian Antarctic Division helps further the objective of the convention of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) by providing the science on which to base policy and management decisions. See the Antarctic Division’s science section for the latest science strategic plan.

Australian Antarctic Division research that contributes to CCAMLR is primarily undertaken by research programs addressing the conservation of Antarctic wildlife and the sustainable management of Southern Ocean fisheries. These research programs follow an ‘ecosystem approach’ that is consistent with the approach adopted as the basis for CCAMLR. This approach requires that krill, finfish and all other living resources of the Southern Ocean, are treated as an integrated system where the effects on predator, prey and related species are considered, and decisions on sustainable harvesting levels are made on the basis of sound scientific advice.

Australian Antarctic scientists conduct strategic research into issues such as stock assessment of fish and krill populations, incidental mortality of seabirds in long-line fisheries, ecosystem monitoring, the development of novel techniques to examine ecosystem interactions, ecosystem modelling and research into the life history parameters of harvested and dependent species.

The Australian Antarctic Division’s science initiatives have significantly contributed to the development of procedures by CCAMLR and have enabled the commission to make informed ecosystem management decisions, based on the best scientific advice available. Much of the scientific information provided to CCAMLR assists in the development of conservation measures, which regulate activity in the CCAMLR region of the Southern Ocean according to a precautionary approach. Conservation measures under CCAMLR:

  • establish protected species
  • set precautionary catch limits
  • identify fishing regions
  • regulate when fishing may occur and what fishing methods can be used, and
  • establish fisheries inspection procedures.

Australia’s Antarctic scientific research program has been and will continue to be the prime source of information to CCAMLR on the harvested species, and on the wider marine ecosystem of East Antarctica.