4th January 2009

All four New Zealand licensed and registered long liners,   ( Antarctic
Chieftain, Janas, San Aotea II and San Aspiring)  have now made it through the ice bridge and into the Ross Sea. There are also two British, one Spanish and one Korean vessel fishing inside the Polynya. ( A Polynya is the term used when relatively warm ocean currents sweep under the ice sheet and thaw the pack ice from the inside out. This happens in several areas of Antarctica but the largest by far is the Ross Sea Polynya. Right now the open, or ice free, water consists of around 180,000sq miles and its rapidly expanding north every day).

Our vessels all have Mustad automated long line systems aboard. We can set and haul around 20,000 hooks per day from depths between 1,000 and 2,000m and up to 35,000 hooks a day in shallow water around 600m.
The automatic baiting machine can bait up to 4 hooks per second and it takes a skilled operator to keep the squid bait feeding onto the bait conveyor so that the baiting average is kept at around 95% on the hooks.
Hooks are spaced at 1.4 m and each line usually has between 6,000 and 10,000 hooks. The Antarctic Chieftain can hold around 40,000 hooks on 1,000 hook magazines in the hook room at the stern of the ship.
It takes about 7 hours to set all the lines once we’re in a good fishing


Frodo is the master baiter. It's a good job for him while his knee is still recovering the dislocation he suffered a few days back.

In the hook room,  the hooks must be swept and separated before being pulled through the baiting machine and out through the setting chute in the stern of the ship.

In the hook room, the hooks must be swept and separated before being pulled through the baiting machine and out through the setting chute in the stern of the ship.

The setting chute is yet another piece of clever Kiwi initiative that is designed to keep the baited hooks away from foraging seabirds. 

Remember,  not 1 seabird has been killed or injured by any New Zealand vessel in the Ross Sea fishery since the fishery started 10 years ago.  And, to the best of our knowledge, this record applies to all CCAMLR approved vessels in this Ross Sea fishery.

As a fleet, we are proud of that record.

Rgds: John B.


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2 Responses to “4th January 2009”

  1. Graham Davey Says:

    Hi guys & girls,

    Great to here you are finally fishing in the waters you wanted too.
    Good to see some photo’s of Frodo as we have been wondering how he was doing, hope the knee is holding up alright.
    Mum & Nicole say Hi and are looking forward to talking to you.
    Keep the photo’s coming as it helps us understand what you guys are going through.
    All the best to you all for the New Year and hope the fishing is better than it ever has been.
    Safe fishing

  2. Flossie Says:

    Hi everyone on board the Antarctic Chieftain. Wow – that’s a fantastic record of no seabird catches. Great Kiwi ingenuity at work. You see so much about toothfish being a ‘bad’ fishery, its nice to know that Kiwi boats are doing the right thing. Good on you, guys – proud of you.

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