CCAMLR tag-return lottery 2015 – winners announced

The CCAMLR tag-return lottery, sponsored by COLTO, has been drawn and this year’s winner of first prize is the Australian vessel, Antarctic Chieftain.

The lottery is designed to promote awareness of the tagging scheme on vessels and to ensure that all recaptured fish get reported to CCAMLR. Details of where fish were first tagged, and then recovered, are held by the CCAMLR Secretariat. To date, over 170 000 toothfish have been tagged and released as part of a broad program of fisheries research in CCAMLR waters, helping to improve scientific knowledge of the stocks and biological characteristics of the fish such as their movements.

The tag number was drawn at random from all reports of recaptured toothfish in CCAMLR exploratory fisheries in 2014/15. The winning tagged Antarctic toothfish was recaptured on 17 January 2015, having been tagged almost exactly a year prior on 16 January 2014. The fish was recovered only 2.25 km from where it was released but toothfish are known to move far greater distances over time. In fact for this fish, its two trips to the surface for the capture and recapture are a much greater distance than it had moved horizontally!

Tagging and recapture details of second and third prizes

Second Prize – Recaptured by the Hong Jin 701 (Republic of Korea) on 29 January 2015 in Subarea 88.1. It was tagged on 1 January 2012 also in Subarea 88.1 and had moved 11.17 km.

Third prize – Recaptured by the Argos Froyanes (UK) on 6 December 2014 in Subarea 88.1. It was tagged one year earlier on 17 December 2013, in the same subarea. The fish had moved 2.07 km.

COLTO and CCAMLR congratulate all winners and is pleased to see such great contributions by crew and observers in these CCAMLR toothfish fisheries. COLTO has agreed to continue to support the lottery draw. The next one will be drawn in October 2016.

The tagging program

Tagging and recapturing toothfish is a key part of CCAMLR’s approach to managing the toothfish fishery. Each vessel is required to tag and release a proportion of the toothfish that they catch and report all of this information to CCAMLR. By doing so there is a known number of tagged fish in the population. As the ratio of tagged to untagged fish in subsequent catches is assumed to be the same as the ratio of tagged to untagged fish in the overall population, this allows CCAMLR to estimate the total population of toothfish in an area.

The photo above shows Martin Exel, Chair of COLTO, presenting tag-return lottery prizes to representatives of the winning vessels. Left to right: Peter Thomson (Argos Froyanes), Gap Joo Bae (Hong Jin 701), Les Scott (Antarctic Chieftain).