(1) That this research plan with a revised sampling design within six existing research blocks in Division 58.4.1 and one existing research block in Division 58.4.2 be adopted.
(2) If directed fishing was not allowed in Division 58.4.1 in 2021/22, that this research plan for the exploratory fishery in Division 58.4.2 with one existing and one new research block be adopted.
Exploratory fishing for toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni) in East Antarctica (Divisions 58.4.1 and 58.4.2) began in 2003. Robust stock assessments and catch limits according to CCAMLR decision rules remain to be determined for these Divisions. WG-FSA-16/29 outlined the first multi-member toothfish exploratory fishery research plan up to 2017/18 for East Antarctica, which the Scientific Committee agreed was appropriate to achieve the research objectives (SC-CAMLR 2016, para. 3.244). Subsequent research progress including the evaluation of standard approaches to identify precautionary catch limits (WG-FSA-17 para. 4.28-4.38) and bycatch mitigation (Maschette et al. 2017), suggests a low risk profile for this fishery. Furthermore, examination of bycatch data and underwater video footage have not led to the identification of vulnerable marine ecosystem (VME) indicator species (Maschette et al. 2017, Eléaume et al. 2018). Here, we update the research plan for 2018/19 to 2021/22 (WG-FSA-18/59), in accordance with ANNEX 24-01/A, Format 2. This plan has been designed as a 4-year plan, based on the low risk profile of this fishery and to allow more time for review by Working Groups of major reporting and review years in non-stock-assessment years.
Compared to last year (SC-CAMLR-38/BG/10), this research plan has been updated with 2021/22 operating details, a change to the sampling design within existing research blocks, and a proposed new research block in Division 58.4.2 if directed fishing was not allowed in Division 58.4.1 in 2021/22. The updated ‘CCAMLR Research Plan – Research Proponent Self-Assessment’ can be found in Appendix 1, and the description of vessel tagging procedures following the survey questionnaire (see Comm Circ-21-54 and SC-Circ-21-68) in Appendix 3.