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    Demersal fishing interactions with marine benthos in the Southern Ocean: an assessment of the vulnerability of benthic habitats to impact by demersal gears

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    Document Number:
    SC-CAMLR-XXVI/BG/30
    Author(s):
    Delegation of Australia
    Agenda Item(s)
    Abstract

    A collaborative project between Australian industry, the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation has been established to investigate the interactions between demersal fishing gears targeting Dissostichus spp. with marine benthos in the Australian EEZ of the Southern Ocean. Key outcomes of this project will include: • Compact camera systems which will be able deployed by scientific observers in the Convention area to quantify habitats types where fishing occurs • Identification of types and likely extent of interactions between different demersal fishing gears (trawl, longline, trap) with benthic communities around Heard and McDonald Islands (Division 58.5.2), and longlines on the Antarctic continental shelf • An assessment of the vulnerability of benthic habitats to impact by demersal gears in the Sub-Antarctic and high latitudes of the Southern Ocean • Recommendations for practical mitigation strategies to minimise fishing impacts on benthic communities Compact cameras have already been built and trialled on trawl on longline gear, and the footage captured indicates there is great potential for such systems to capture data to quantify interactions between demersal gears and the benthos in CCAMRL fisheries.

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