We are investigating the potential effects of the Antarctic toothfish fishery on the species’ predators by trying to understand how significant a prey toothfish are for seals and whales in the Ross Sea.
Effects of toothfish fishery on predators in the Ross Sea
The main natural predators of Antarctic toothfish in this region (depending on the size of the toothfish) are likely to be:
- Weddell seals
- killer whales (orca)
- sperm whales
- large squid.
Although a great deal of research has been conducted into the biology and ecology of Weddell seals and killer whales and their links with Antarctic toothfish in the Ross Sea, there are large gaps in the collective knowledge of both the local and international scientific community.
The importance toothfish hold to their predators in the Ross Sea is not yet known. Some studies suggest toothfish are a minor part of their predators' diets. However, other work suggests toothfish may be an important prey item in certain locations and at particular times of the year. This is a crucial subject area and studies on this topic are ongoing.