The tag number was drawn at random from all reports of recaptured toothfish in CCAMLR exploratory fisheries in 2016/17. The winning tagged Antarctic toothfish was recaptured by the Kingstar on 9 March 2017, having been tagged by that vessel just over two years prior on 19 February 2015. The fish was recovered only 15 km from where it was released but toothfish are known to move far greater distances over time.
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 217 000 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.
Tagging and recapture details of second and third prizes
Second prize went to the Japanese-flagged vessel Shinsei Maru No. 3, having recaptured an Antarctic toothfish on 26 March 2017 in Subarea 48.6 that it had tagged on 9 January 2016, 6 km away.
Third prize went to the South African-flagged vessel Koryo Maru No. 11, that tagged an Antarctic toothfish in Subarea 48.6 on 19 January 2016, and then recaptured it 3 km away on 9 March 2017 (371 days later).
CCAMLR and COLTO congratulate all winners and are 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 2018.
The CCAMLR Scientific Committee thanked COLTO for continuing this very useful initiative and noted that all tagged fish were recaptured very close to the original release location. This confirms that toothfish in general do not move very much, however, other tag returns show that some individuals undertake long distance migrations over many thousands of kilometres.
The CCAMLR 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.