How AMLR/AERD supports CCAMLR
The US AMLR Program, via the AERD, conducts research in support of CCAMLR. In order to gain a clearer understanding of this complex krill-centric ecosystem, studies are conducted on krill and fish, their predators and the environment. Field surveys are conducted in situ each year, with subsequent analyses and results presented to the international community during the CCAMLR working group meetings. The data and results collected and presented by the US AMLR Program form a basis for which many fisheries management decisions are made by CCAMLR. Commercial fishing activities of US fisherman are also monitored, with results again presented to, and used by, CCAMLR for managing fisheries resources.
The objective of the AERD seabird (chinstrap, gentoo, and Adelie penguins) research is to use standard methodologies to investigate factors that influence reproductive, foraging and demographic parameters of the penguin populations breeding at Cape Shirreff (Livingston Island) and Copacabana (King George Island). There are nine CCAMLR parameters concerning aspects of penguin natural history that have been identified as being necessary for understanding the interactions between these predators, their prey and the krill fishery. The nine parameters are believed to be sensitive to variations in prey and environmental factors over different spatial (inshore, offshore, regional) and temporal (summer, winter, or multi-year) scales. The AMLR Program conducts research on seabirds using the nine parameters to investigate interactions between seabirds, their prey and the krill fishery; these data are submitted to CCAMLR each year promoting national and international collaborations.
The primary objectives of the AERD pinniped research program are to investigate factors that influence the population dynamics (especially feeding ecology, reproductive success, growth and condition), demography, and abundance of Antarctic fur seals. Efforts are focused on, but not limited to, krill-dependent predators and the potential influence of commercial fisheries on long-term reproductive performance. Monitoring protocols have been designed to measure foraging and reproductive performance over a range of temporal (summer, winter, or multi-year) and spatial (inshore, offshore, regional) scales. Investigations of Antarctic fur seals, using CCAMLR Ecosystem Monitoring Program (CEMP) standard protocols are conducted at Cape Shirreff.
Since 1997, the AERD has conducted periodic demersal finfish bottom surveys primarily in the Scotia Arc. The majority of finfish species (in terms of biomass) are notothenioid species. The objective of the research is to investigate finfish population dynamics, ecology, habitats and relationships to other predator/prey species.
Commercial Fisheries Activities
Activities related to this topic are heavily dependent upon the extent that U.S.-flagged fishing vessels participate in commercial operations in the Southern Ocean. The AMLR Program has an obligation to ensure that adequate monitoring of the commercial fleet is completed. To date we have had U.S. vessels fish for crabs, krill and toothfish. However, at present, only one krill fishing vessel is active. If additional vessels commence fishing activities, the AERD will have to ensure arrangements are made to carry mandatory observers (which includes ensuring they have appropriate gear and scientific equipment), that data are collected and transmitted to CCAMLR in a timely manner, and that fishing regulations are met. For each U.S. commercial fisherman, the AMLR Program places biologists aboard the fishing vessel to collect fishery related and biological data. In addition, the Program occasionally places observers on foreign fishing vessels to monitor the fishing activities.