Grenadiers Macrourus spp. are the main bycatch species in the exploratory longline fishery for toothfish Dissostichus spp. in the Ross Sea, Antarctica. Ongoing monitoring tools are needed to assess stock status of grenadiers in the Ross Sea and to ensure ecological relationships are maintained. There may be potential to use fisheries acoustic methods to obtain estimates of grenadier abundance. Acoustic data collected during New Zealand’s International Polar Year Census of Marine Life survey in February–March 2008 provide evidence that single targets close to the bottom over the Ross Sea slope are grenadiers. The acoustic target strength distribution of single targets was very similar to that predicted based on the measured size range of grenadiers. There are also positive correlations between acoustic backscatter and trawl and longline catches of grenadiers. Key uncertainties of the acoustic method are mark identification away from the bottom, and technical issues with low signal-to-noise ratio at depths greater than 1000 m and the acoustic dead-zone close to the bottom.
Sarah Mackey (CCAMLR Secretariat)
(J. Ichthyol., 52 (10) (2012): 1–9)