Results of fish larvae sampling by means of fine-meshed samplers attached to a bottom trawl
Fine-meshed samplers were attached to the top of a bottom trawl in order to provide information on the composition, distribution and abundance of Antarctic fish larvae in the near-bottom zone, which is usually not sampled using plankton nets. The efficiency of various sized meshes for sampling larvae in the bottom zone and the resistance of the samplers to damage during trawl operations were observed. Number of fish caught by samplers constructed using 0.505 mm net were similar to those taken by samplers made using 12 mm net with 0.505 mm insets. The 12 mm net was, however, more vulnerable to damage. The nets were more effective in sampling when attached to the top of the trawl belly, not to the codend. A total of 12 fish species were recorded. The most common fishes caught were postlarval Nototheniidae, and among them Nototheniops larseni (9.3-20.5 mm). The abundance of postlarval fish was highest in the shallow (108-166 m), nearshore waters of the north eastern shelf of South Georgia. Low values of the abundance index, including most of zero catches, were recorded on the western and southwestern part of the island shelf. Differences observed between the species composition of samples taken in this study and samples which have been collected in the midwater zone during the summer in the South Georgia area are discussed.