Identifying taxonomic groups vulnerable to bottom longline fishing gear in the Ross Sea region
Implementing measures to avoid significant adverse impacts to vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) requires a specific list of the taxa that are considered vulnerable in the fishery being assessed. New Zealand identified an interim list of taxa to monitor in fishery by-catch in the Ross Sea as part of its benthic fisheries impact assessment. The rationale for including or excluding each taxonomic group is described relative to the group’s fragility, longevity, organism size and spatial distribution. Additional considerations such as organism mobility, community diversity, endemism, taxonomic resolution and presence in fishery by-catch are also important. Thirteen coarse-resolution taxonomic groups are identified as vulnerable to bottom longline fishing activities in the Ross Sea region, including two indicator-only taxa.