Australia is adapting the risk assessment framework used in Area 48 to assess the risks involved in any redevelopment of a commercial krill (Euphausia superba) fishery in CCAMLR Divisions 58.4.1 and 58.4.2, off the coast of East Antarctica, and to evaluate whether the current management procedure has a high likelihood of achieving CCAMLR’s objectives in this region. This paper outlines a relatively simple derivation of the risk assessment framework to assess whether the current conservation measures that are relevant to Divisions 58.4.1 and 58.4.2 sufficiently mitigate the risk of a krill fishery disproportionately concentrating catches in areas that are also important to krill predators. In particular, this application of the risk assessment framework explores how estimated predation needs of baleen whales, crabeater seals and Adélie penguins, in parallel with the currently agreed krill biomass estimates across Divisions 58.4.1 and 58.4.2, suggests a distribution of catch across the four subdivisions. This risk assessment found the regional risk of the current conservation measures in Divisions 58.4.1 and 58.4.2 to be higher than the baseline regional risk. That would suggest that, in the event that krill fishing within a CCAMLR season begins to approach the catch/trigger limits, krill predators across Division 58.4.1 could be potentially exposed to disproportionate effects of fishing. This result is driven primarily by the krill biomass/density estimates across Divisions 58.4.1 and 58.4.2, which highlights the need to support future surveys to update these parameters. We also discuss a path towards a future update of this risk assessment using modified methods and new data.
Dr Nat Kelly (Australia)
Dr Dirk Welsford (Australia)