Researchers on board the Niwa research ship Tangaroa are pulling an array of strange creatures out of icy Antarctic waters as they investigate the health of the foodweb supporting the prized commercial species toothfish.
The scientists have been trawling the central Ross Sea about 72 degrees south in an area where about 3000 tonnes of toothfish are caught each year.
The Tangaroa’s catches have included rattails, icefish, glacial squid, silverfish, and other surprising looking fish and invertebrates.
While the main aim of the trawl was to investigate the health of the prey species eaten by toothfish, a healthy toothfish was also caught. It was measured, tagged and released in line with international protocols.
Tangaroa is four weeks into a six-week research voyage investigating the foodwebs that support top predators humpback whales, blue whales and toothfish.