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    Observations on the diet of Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni) from the Ross Sea, Antarctica (CCAMLR Statistical Subarea 88.1)

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    J.M. Fenaughty, D.W. Stevens and S.M. Hanchet (New Zealand)
    Agenda Item(s)

    The diet of Antarctic toothfish Dissostichus mawsoni captured by bottom longline in the Ross Sea was studied during the 2001 (3937 stomachs examined) and 2002 (5426 stomachs examined) summer fishing seasons. Fish sampled in 2001 were caught in 317-2154 m depths and ranged in length from 58–190 cm total length (TL) while fish sampled in 2002 were caught in 815-1623 m depths and ranged in length from 62–197 cm TL. A high proportion of stomachs sampled were empty (34% in 2001 and 49% in 2002) and the remaining stomachs often contained prey in advanced stages of digestion, making prey identification difficult. Fish were the most important prey category (86% of stomachs in 2001 and 78% in 2002), in particular icefish (family Channichthyidae) and Whitson’s rattail Macrourus whitsoni. Squid, bait, and prawns were also important prey items.