Data are collected for use in scientific research, the results of which are used to inform management decisions made to achieve specific goals. Any data collection plan should be drawn from the goals the management wishes to achieve. The long-term goals of the Ross Sea fishery based on Article II of CCAMLR can be summarised as: the target fished population is above a level which ensures stable recruitment; the ecological relationships between harvested, dependent, and related populations are maintained; and, prevention of changes or minimisation of the risk of changes in the marine ecosystem which are not potentially reversible over two or three decades, with the aim of making possible the sustained conservation of Antarctic marine living resources. Based on these goals, medium term research objectives for the Ross Sea fishery for the next 5–7 years were developed in 2014. These medium-term research objectives were used as the basis for the development of this Ross Sea region fisheries data collection plan. This paper provides context with the proposed medium term research objectives, specific data requirements to meet those objectives, the basis for the proposed sampling scheme, and the draft fishery-dependent medium term data collection plan. Feedback is sought from WG- FSA concerning any substantive gaps in the proposed data collection requirements, approaches to optimising sampling rates, and the proposed rotational approach to sampling the main species groups.
It is recommended that gonad weight be included as a requirement in the Type II biological measurements for observer sampling from the 2015/16 fishing year onwards. It is also recommended that observers avoid using generic species codes (such as GRV and SRX) when recording biological data for bycatch species.