This report summarises fishing catch and effort in the Ross Sea region (Subarea 88.1 and SSRUs 88.2A–B) together with biological characteristics of the catch of Antarctic toothfish through the 2019–20 season. The implementation of the Ross Sea region Marine Protected Area from the 1st December 2017, has concentrated subsequent fishing on the continental slope south of 70° S, with recent effort extending into Subarea 88.2, SSRUs A and B. Data from all years are summarised with respect to the current management areas.
The scaled length distributions showed no decrease in the size of fish caught over time in any of the management areas, although there was a strong pattern of interannual variability in the area south of 70° S that was likely driven by changes in the fine scale spatial distribution of fishing effort or the influence of strong and week year classes entering the fishery. There was a small change in the ratio of males to females over time, with a gradual pattern of more males caught in all areas. The number of fish recaptured in 2019–20 was similar to the annual average number of recaptures over the past decade. A tagged fish was recaptured after 16 years at liberty, which indicates that tags can remain in the fish over long time periods.