Reconciling fisheries with conservation: three examples from the Southern Ocean

Preservation of ecosystem structure is the guiding principle by which the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) endeavors to manage the harvests of living resources of the Southern Ocean (with the notable exception of marine mammals). The experiences of CCAMLR with regard to fisheries on Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba), mackerel icefish (Champhsocephalus gunnari) and Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) are reviewed. The unifying paradigm employed by CCAMLR is the application of a precautionary approach, which explicitly incorporates uncertainty in the analysis of risk of exceeding defined management criteria. Each fishery, however, presents a unique set of circumstances and unresolved concerns. While the current fishery for krill is small compared to the precautionary limit established by CCAMLR, fishing effort concentrated near colonies of land-breeding krill predators may pose a threat as well as those posed by the broader-scale influence of climatic cycles and trends on krill production. Management of the fishery on mackerel icefish relies on frequent surveys and short-term population projections because of high variability in natural mortality and is further complicated by the dual role of icefish as both consumers of krill and alternative prey to krill predators. While CCAMLR management of the fishery on toothfish is based on longer-term projections and has demonstrated success in addressing incidental mortality of seabirds, large-scale misreporting of catches threatens to compromise the viability of the fishery. These concerns are discussed in the context of CCAMLR’s long-term goal of feed-back management schemes, whereby conservation measures are adjusted in response to ecosystem monitoring.


Publication status:
Authors: Hewitt, Roger P., Jones, Christopher D., Everson, Inigo

Editors: Nielsen, Jennifer L., Dodson, Julian J., Friedland, Kevin, Hamon, Troy R., Musick, Jack, Verspoor, Eric

1 January, 2008
In: Nielsen, Jennifer L., Dodson, Julian J., Friedland, Kevin, Hamon, Troy R., Musick, Jack, Verspoor, Eric (eds.). Reconciling fisheries with conservation: Proceedings of the Fourth World Fisheries Congress, Bethesda, Maryland, American Fisheries Society, 1681-1697.