The introduction of the Ross Sea region Marine Protected Area has elevated the need for research (including fisheries research) to inform the Research and Monitoring Plan and to evaluate the effectiveness of the Marine Protected Area. All research should be based on a robust experimental design, and in particular, fisheries research within the Ross Sea region should:
- meet a high standard of experimental design;
- derive the maximum scientific outcomes from proposed activities; and
- ensure that robust scientific conclusions can be drawn from the outcomes.
To meet this challenge, we provide a guide for the preparation and evaluation of fisheries research that will interact with the Ross Sea region Marine Protected Area. These include design aspects such as strata definition, catch rate standardisation, vessel calibration, station randomisation, and power analyses, as well as implementation aspects such as data collection requirements. These aspects of design are critical to ensure robust scientific conclusions concerning, for example, local area fish abundance, life history attributes, and ecosystem structure and function.