It's hard enough at the best of times to study deep sea fish. And when that fish happens to live in Antarctica … well, the job becomes even harder. Luckily for fisheries biologist Stuart Hanchet, from NIWA, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Antarctic toothfish are part of a quota management fishery, and that fishery has been very co-operative in helping with research that in turn helps determine the sustainability of the industry.
Antarctic toothfish is also known as Antarctic cod, and in 2005 the legal Antarctic toothfish fishery in New Zealand Antarctic waters was worth $20 million. Patagonian toothfish, often marketed as Chilean seabass, is the target of a large illegal fishery.
NIWA is also carrying out ecosystem modelling research on the Ross Sea, and that works includes modelling what effect the toothfish fishery is having on other parts of the ecosystem.