Facilitating biological data collection from the world’s most extreme fisheries.
Australia has five commercial fishing vessels licenced to fish in Antarctic and sub-antarctic waters targeting the highly prized Antarctic toothfish, Patagonian toothfish and mackerel icefish. These vessels operate under extremely strict environmental and compliance conditions. The vessels are at sea for periods up to five months and experience some of the worst weather conditions anywhere.
Each vessel carries two fisheries Observers who collect significant quantities of operational, catch and biological data, which is used by fisheries managers and scientists to inform the assessment and management of the fisheries. The Australian Antarctic Division have developed the Fishlog system which is installed into the processing factory of each of the vessels to facilitate the collection of operational and biological data. Fishlog includes an electronic fish measuring board, motion compensated marine scales and a pair of ruggedized notebook computers. Fishlog is scalable and other instruments, e.g. RFID tag readers or GPS can be interfaced with it. Data is stored in an MS Access database with a custom designed user interface that is intended to make life as easy as possible for the Observers working under extreme weather conditions on extremely long trips
A further component of the Australian Antarctic Division’s research on these fisheries is an analysis of the impact of bottom fishing on seabed communities. We have developed a deepwater camera system that can be attached to a variety of gear types and operate autonomously to record seabed type and fishing gear interactions.
This talk will discuss the constraints and challenges in developing the Fishlog and Deepwater camera systems, some of the successes and future developments.
Session Category : Biology and Biomass