During late March to mid-April 2021, the annual random stratified trawl survey (RSTS) around Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI) was conducted in CCAMLR Division 58.5.2, with the completion of 163 stations. The survey was conducted for the first time on the Cape Arkona. Sampling protocols such as the design and the duration of the hauls were similar to recent surveys, but with a new set of randomly selected station points.
The catch of Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) was 77.9 t – the second highest catch since the RSTS began. The catch of mackerel icefish (Champsocephalus gunnari) was 35.7 t which represents an almost 5-fold increase in catch from 2020.
Biomass estimates for the managed by-catch species unicorn icefish (Champsocephalus rhinoceratus) showed a steady increase in catch whereas grey rockcod (Lepidonotothen squamifrons) was relatively similar to last year and the catch of Macrourus spp. has declined. All three species of skate were caught in lower numbers than has been the case in recent years.
Length and weight measurements were taken for 21,712 fish with additional biological measurements recorded for about half of these individuals. Otoliths were collected from 161 D. eleginoides and 116 L. squamifrons.