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Fisheries in cold water

Every year, ships from many nations sail to the Southern Ocean to harvest a variety of species, from the highly-prized Patagonian toothfish, to the plentiful Antarctic krill.   Developments in shipping technology, retreating sea ice, and the rising global price of fish products (a consequence of increasing demand and over-fishing around the world), are driving growth of fisheries into polar waters north and south.

Soviet factory fishing ship (middle) with two trawlers in the foreground and a cargo ship tied behind

BAS provides Committee for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, the international authority that regulates Southern Ocean fisheries, with key assessments that allow sustainable catches to be set. More importantly, BAS research underpins the understanding of Southern Ocean marine ecosystems that allows CCAMLR to take an “ecosystem approach” in which the inter-dependencies and multiple stresses on species are taken into account in setting safe and sustainable catches.

This pioneering approach is, increasingly becoming the preferred model for management of fisheries around the world.