Project number: 2017-021
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $178,000.00
Principal Investigator: Philippe Ziegler
Organisation: Australian Antarctic Division (AAD)
Project start/end date: 31 Oct 2017 - 30 Jan 2019


Australia has an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) declared adjacent to its Antarctic territorial claims in East Antarctica. Australia has also a direct interest in BANZARE Bank and Elan Bank due to shelf claims and their close relationship to the Kerguelen Plateau. The EEZ in East Antarctica does not include an Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ), thus this area is effectively 'high seas' and the Australian fishing industry has no special privileges in this part of the Convention area. However, ALPL started fishing in East Antarctica in 2015 and have a strong interest to continue fishing activities if catch limits in East Antarctica allow for economical operations.
CCAMLR's failure to assess Antarctic toothfish stocks in East Antarctica with tag-based stock assessments has resulted in a highly precautionary approach for setting catch limits in the area, with small and potentially uneconomical catch limits spread across a number fishable blocks. There is an urgent need to (a) delineate the structure and linkages of Antarctic toothfish stocks around Antarctica and particularly in East Antarctica, and (b) develop alternative assessment approaches to enable a reliable evaluation of stock biomass and the impact of the fishery on stock status in this area. In particular, the project will provide an evaluation of whether Antarctic toothfish could be suitable for the close-kin mark-recapture method to estimate biomass in East Antarctica.
Australia has maintained a leadership role in CCAMLR, including SC-CAMLR since its inception. Australia wishes to maintain the precautionary approach of CCAMLR and its ability to meet environmental objectives as well as those of the fishing industry. This project will contribute to Australia's CCAMLR obligations as a fishing nation to conduct research towards a robust fishery stock assessment, and provide an important opportunity to influence the management of activities which have the potential to adversely affect marine living resources in high seas areas adjacent to the Australian EEZ.


1. Delineate stock structure of Antarctic toothfish within the Southern Ocean.
2. Evaluation whether Antarctic toothfish could be suitable for a close-kin mark-recapture method to estimate biomass in East Antarctica.

Final report

ISBN: 978-1-876934-33-0
Authors: Dale Maschette Simon Wotherspoon Andrea Polanowski Bruce Deagle Dirk Welsford Philippe Ziegler
Final Report • 2020-04-14 • 1.72 MB


This project, undertaken by the department of environment and Energy, Australian Antarctic Division, delineates the stock structure of the Antarctic Toothfish in the Southern Ocean, and evaluates the species' suitability for the close-kin mark-recapture method for estimation of biomass in East Antarctica.
Keywords: Antarctic toothfish, Antarctica, mark-recapture, close-kin, stock structure

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