This field guide was prepared to help observers, fishers, and biologists working on toothfish longline fishing vessels to identify the main species of fishes taken in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica. Technical terms are kept to a minimum, and identification features are mostly those that can be readily observed on freshly caught specimens without dissection or microscopic examination. The guide covers 30 fishes from 11 families including cartilaginous fishes (skates) and bony teleost fishes.
It includes species that are commonly caught on longline hooks as well as smaller species that are not usually caught on hooks but are eaten by toothfish and observed in stomach contents, i.e., Antarctic dragonfishes (Bathydraconidae), snailfishes (Liparidae), and eelpouts (Zoarcidae), plus some species of crocodile icefishes (Channichthyidae), and cod icefishes (Nototheniidae). It does not cover all fishes caught in the Ross Sea region longline fishery over time. This is because there is uncertainty about the identification of some of the fishes, and taxonomic study (beyond the scope of this guide) is required to resolve problems with several species groups.