A research proposal to continue the southern Ross Sea sub-adult toothfish survey for the next two years, 2016 and 2017, is presented. The survey will continue to focus primarily on estimating the relative abundance of sub-adult (<110 cm TL) toothfish in the core strata (A, B, C) in SSRUs 88.1J and 88.1L so as to provide a time series of recruitment of toothfish. This is a continuation of the time series of CCAMLR-sponsored research surveys of these strata carried out from 2012–2015.
Following the recommendations of WG-FSA and WG-EMM, an additional secondary survey objective has been developed to monitor larger (sub-adult and adult) toothfish in McMurdo Sound and Terra Nova Bay, where toothfish are believed to form an important part of the diet of Type C killer whales and Weddell seals. This survey objective complements ice-based ecosystem monitoring work undertaken on these three species by US, Italian and New Zealand scientists in these two areas. It is proposed to survey McMurdo Sound in 2016 and Terra Nova Bay in 2017 to match the timing and location of the sea-ice based work.
Survey timing and methods will remain the same as in previous years, and the number of sets will be retained at 45 sets for the core strata but reduced to 10 sets for the McMurdo/Terra Nova Bay strata making 55 sets in total. A nominal catch limit of 40 tonnes is requested for each survey. It is envisaged that the results of the 2016 survey, and trends in the time series, will be presented to WG-FSA for review in 2016 and that a full review be completed and presented to WG-EMM, WG-SAM and WG-FSA in 2017.