The CCAMLR tag-return lottery, sponsored by the Coalition of Legal Toothfish Operators (COLTO), has been drawn and this year's winner is Mr N. MacLeod of Sanford, representing the New Zealand vessel, San Aspiring.
The lottery is designed to promote awareness of the tagging scheme on vessels and to ensure that all recaptured fish get reported to CCAMLR. Details of where fish were first tagged, and then recovered, are held by the CCAMLR Secretariat. To date, over 160 000 toothfish have been tagged and released as part of a broad program of fisheries research in CCAMLR waters, helping to improve scientific knowledge of the stocks and biological characteristics of the fish such as their movements.
The tag number was drawn at random from all reports of recaptured toothfish in CCAMLR exploratory fisheries in 2013/14. The winning tagged Antarctic toothfish was recaptured on 10 March 2014 around the South Sandwich Islands (Subarea 48.4) having been tagged two years prior on 8 April 2012. The toothfish was recovered only 2km from where it was released but toothfish are known to move far greater distances over time.
Tagging and Recapture details of second and third prized fish
Second Prize – Recaptured by Johannes Visagie onboard the Seljevaer (Norway) on 13 December 2013 in Subarea 88.1. It was tagged on 2 December 2011 in Subarea 88.1 and had moved 10km.
Third prize – Recaptured by Duane on the San Aspiring (NZ) on Christmas Day, 25 December 2013 in Subarea 88.1. It was tagged 4 years earlier on 26 January 2008 in Subarea 88.1.The fish had moved 49km.
CCAMLR congratulates all winners and is pleased to see such great contributions by crew and observers in these CCAMLR toothfish fisheries. COLTO has generously agreed to continue to support the lottery draw. The next one will be drawn in October 2015.
The tagging program
Tagging and recapturing toothfish is a key part of CCAMLR's approach to managing the toothfish fishery. Each vessel is required to tag and release a proportion of the toothfish that they catch and report all of this information to CCAMLR. By doing so there is a known number of tagged fish in the population. As the ratio of tagged to untagged fish in subsequent catches is assumed to be the same as the ratio of tagged to untagged fish in the overall population, this allows CCAMLR to estimate the total population of toothfish in an area.