Apart from exploitation of seals and whales, Antarctic fisheries began in the late 1960s with exploitation of the marbled rockcod, Notothenia rossii, in the South Atlantic, a species decimated in the first two years of the fishery following catches of about 500,000t. Two other species have formed the basis of substantial fisheries, krill (Euphausia superba) and mackerel icefish (Champsocephalus gunnari), both of which still occur. Finfish catches declined in the 1980s but the development of deep longlining for toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides and D. mawsoni) has caused a resurgence of interest in Antarctic finfish fisheries. Notwithstanding these fisheries, management of fisheries in the Antarctic arose primarily from concern over potential effects of a fishery for the very abundant Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba. This species is considered to be an important prey of a wide range of avian and marine predators in the Antarctic. The Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) was agreed in 1980 to take a broad 'ecosystem approach' to management. As part of this approach, CCAMLR has (i) adopted a precautionary approach to all fisheries including by-catch, (ii) developed quantitative decision rules to safeguard recruitment of target species and to safeguard predators from over-exploitation of their prey, (iii) developed methods to achieve scientific consensus & account for uncertainty, (iv) adopted a process for authorising new fisheries and for monitoring the development of exploratory fisheries, and (v) adopted measures to avoid localised effort in new fisheries, avoid targetting bycatch species, minimising mortality of birds. This paper reviews how CCAMLR achieved these results and the future program of work required to develop management procedures that ensure that management measures can be adjusted in sufficient time to ensure the objectives are met. Attention is given in this paper to the development of the CCAMLR Ecosystem Monitoring Program (CEMP), some of the problems in developing a program to monitor for the effects of fishing and the recent discussions on how to incorporate data arising from CEMP into management procedures.
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