This report summarises the toothfish fishery in the Ross Sea region (Subarea 88.1 and SSRUs 88.2AB) together with biological characteristics of the catch of Antarctic toothfish through the 2018 season. Despite 2018 being the first year of implementation of the Ross Sea region Marine Protected Area, most of fishing effort was carried out in the historically fished areas. There was a small amount of effort in the northern area of SSRU 88.2A, which was opened to the exploratory fishery with the introduction of the Ross Sea region MPA. A small amount of the catch historically taken from areas bounded by the SRZ and the area inside the General Protection Zone of the Ross Sea region MPA was taken in the slope area outside the MPA and south of 70°S.
The median and 90th percentile scaled length distributions showed no trend over time in the shelf, slope or northern areas. Patterns in the age frequency of the catch showed no consistent pattern of trend through time, but showed interannual variability. This was likely driven by spatial variability in the locations of fishing effort, most likely driven by ice conditions and vessel choice of locations. The ratio of males to females showed some suggestion of a weak trend with a small increase in the proportion of males over time in all three areas. The number of fish recaptured in 2018 was similar to that recaptured in previous years, with some fish recaptured after 14 years at liberty.