20th January 2009

This season in the Ross Sea is shaping up to be similar to last season with a slow thaw and more sea ice that usual. However, there are other areas that are showing quicker thawing patterns in places that don’t normally open up until the end of February, or just before the ocean starts freezing over again in early March.

All vessels in the Ross Sea fishery have now been notified by CCAMLR that the total allowable catch has almost been reached in two of the three main areas and that we can expect the second area closure notification within the next few days. When this happens we must all have our lines out of the water by the designated date and time and then make moves to exit the closed area.

The last fishing area available to us now is in the southern part of the Ross Sea where catchers are normally much slower than further north. We anticipate the whole of the Ross Sea fishery will close within the next week. After that many of us will head home but some will move to other areas and keep hunting for more fishing grounds.`We are one of the lucky ones that get to stay on and search for new grounds.

Antarctic Chieftain lifting floats aboard with her deck crane. We use a string of floats so when the ice drifts over them they easily pass under the ice and pop up on the other side of the floes. This photo was taken from aboard San Aspiring; they are also fishing in a similar area to us.

Antarctic Chieftain lifting floats aboard with her deck crane. We use a string of floats so when the ice drifts over them they easily pass under the ice and pop up on the other side of the floes. This photo was taken from aboard San Aspiring; they are also fishing in a similar area to us.

she isn’t as flash as the Antarctic Chieftain but the colour scheme does help J.

The San Aspiring: she isn’t as flash as the Antarctic Chieftain but the colour scheme does help J.

Rgds:  John B.

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