Since the 18th century, when humans first began commercial hunting in the Antarctic’s Southern Ocean, many species have been hunted and fished to near extinction due to commercial activities.
Are measures working to reduce the incidence of IUU fishing?
Although hunting for seals and whales began in the 18th century, large scale commercial fishing did not begin until the 1970s, beginning with distant water trawler fleets targeting nototheniids, laternfish and icefish.
Long lining fishing began in the mid-1980s to catch Pategonian Toothfish (also know as the Chilean sea bass) which resulted in the bycatch of bird species such as albatross and petrels which drowned when caught in the lines, a more detailed description of this can be found in the section on Conservation. Millions of tonnes of finfish have been taken out of the Southern Ocean as the fishing has followed a pattern. Once fishing of a species was discovered as viable, full-scale unsustainable exploitation began leading to a rapid decline of species then the commercial fishing switches to another species and the cycle starts again.
Fishing for krill began in the 1970s. There was concern at the time that the fishing of krill would negatively impact on the entire Antarctic marine ecosystem because krill is a major food source for many species of whale, seal, bird and fish species. Krill is used for animal feed, aquaculture feed, bait and food for humans. Krill catches peaked at more than 500,000 tonnes in 1981/2. After the Soviet fleet stopped operating in the early 1990s, the krill catch dropped dramatically. The current krill catch is slightly more than 100,000 tonnes a year.
Over the last 10 years there has been a large increase in illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing in the convention area and nearby areas, although IUU has been completely eliminated around South Georgia. Some of the worst activity occurred near the South African Prince Edward Islands and Australia and France agreed to work together to tackle IUU fishing around their overseas territories in the Southern Ocean. Substantial catches of toothfish have been taken by longline fishing and more recently with gillnet fishing. The CCAMLR estimates of IUU fishing are far higher than the allowable (sustainable) catches agreed by CCAMLR. IUU fishing is considered to be fishing that is conducted illegally within the Convention Area or in a way that is against the conservation measures put in place to control and monitor catches.
IUU fishing of toothfish has raised cause for concern. The high level of IUU fishing has had a negative effect on toothfish stocks but has also seriously affected other species in the food web including sea bird populations putting the future sustainability of both groups into question.
This task is designed to analyse the relationship between the numbers of IUU caught toothfish and time. From this you may be able to infer whether the management of the Southern Ocean has been a success.
Before you begin download the spreadsheet and helpsheet:
- Open the data for IUU toothfish in the Excell spreadsheet.
- Decide on an appropriate hypothesis and null hypothesis for this data.
- Decide on and create an appropriate graph to display this data. Justify your choice of graph.
- Conduct a statistical analysis to show the relationship between the years and the quantity of IUU toothfish caught using Pearson’s correlation test or Spearman’s Rank Correlation Coefficient.
- Using your statistical analysis data, suggest reasons for the relationship between the amount of IUU toothfish caught and the years.
- Suggest other factors which may also influence the trend in this data.
- Give reasons why these ICT techniques (in question 4) are effective in geography.