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Project details

North West Shelf Demersal Marine Resources Study (1982-1992)

Id: 171
Short Name: North West Shelf Study, 1980s-90s
Investigator(s): Keith Sainsbury
(Former) CSIRO Division of Fisheries/Fisheries Research - Hobart [details]

Description: The North West Shelf study was set up to examine the population dynamics and biology of demersal marine resources of the North West Shelf of Australia, in relation to their physical, chemical and biological environment. The first phase of the study comprised 10 cruises by the vessel Soela between 1982 and 1984 to investigate aspects of the ecosystem, followed by an experimental management phase from 1985 to 1992 during which parts of the fishery were closed and the resulting changes monitored. Data gathered during the study included the distribution, reproduction, diet, growth and mortality of the shelf ecosystem biota as well as information about the water column, sediments, and bottom environment. Over 1000 different fish species were recorded during the course of the study. Return cruises to the North West Shelf were made annually from 1986 to 1991 and also in 1995 and 1997.
Description (full):
Years: 1982 to 1992
Hierachy: » »
Remarks: Further introductory information available in CSIRO Marine Labs Research Report 1981-1984, p. 69-74, and Division of Fisheries Report 1991-92, p. 39-40.

List of surveys that this project is on. Click on column header to sort.

Use [details] link to view survey details (map, reports, metadata etc) including links to download data.

Survey InvestigatorDescription
SS 07/97

[details]
A.W. Whitelaw (CSIRO) Southern Surveyor cruise SS 07/97 was the eighth in a series studying the changes in abundance of benthos and fish species following the establishment of an experimental management program on the Australian North West Shelf. Cruise objectives were to study the demersal fish community and demersal habitats (based on epibenthic fauna) in each of the three experimental mmanagement zones; to collect data and samples for studying recruitment, growth, and mortality of fish species; to collect SDL (submersible data logger) transects; to obtain taxonomic specimens and photographs of fish and invertebrate species; and to collect additional fish specimens from deeper water trawling. Whale-watches from Environment Australia also used the cruise for whale observations. Length-frequency data were collected for 14 species of fish, and numerous otolith samples collected from four major species. 35mm photography was carried out on some 50% of the random trawl stations.
SS 08/95

[details]
A.W. Whitelaw (CSIRO) Southern Surveyor cruise SS 08/95 was undertaken to continue the experimental management program (1986-91) in the North West Shelf, encompassing three experimental management zones Barrow Island, Legendre and Port Hedland. Aims of the cruise were to determine the composition of the demersal fish community and the distribution and abundance of habitats (based on epibenthic fauna); to conduct hydrological transects; obtain taxonomic specimens and photos of NW shelf fish and invertebrate species; carry out 'fish down' trawls and to conduct trawls in water (~ 300 m) to collect specimens of Mustelus species for a genetic study, and other species of importance to the Fish Taxonomy group.
Data and samples collected included length frequency for 14 species of fish, specimens for the Handbook of Australian Seafood, specimens and muscle samples for the fillet analysis study, video and camera photography of the trawls, over 195 species of sponges for taxonomic studies by the Queensland Museum. Whale observations were also conducted.
SS 04/91

[details]
A.W. Whitelaw (CSIRO) Southern Surveyor cruise SS 04/91 was undertaken to carry out a demersal fish survey, and benthic sampling in the North West Shelf, encompassing three experimental management zones Barrow Island, Legendre and Port Hedland.
Data and samples collected include fish catches identified and weighed by species, length frequency for 14 species of fish and otoliths for 4 of the main species, numerous fish specimens for taxonomic identification and stock discrimination studies, live berried scampi samples for larval rearing studies (UWA) and hydrological data. Successful deployment of a current buoy for the Division of Oceanography was also conducted and numerous whale sightings were observed throughout the cruise.
This voyage forms part of the North West Shelf study conducted by CSIRO Division of Fisheries between 1982 and 1991. Related voyages are Soela SO 5/82, SO 6/82, SO 1/83, SO 2/83, SO 4/83, SO 5/83, SO 6/86, SO 7/87, SO 5/88; Pride of Eden PoE 4/89; Southen Surveyor SS 02/90.
SS 02/90

[details]
K. Sainsbury & A.W. Whitelaw (CSIRO) Southern Surveyor cruise SS 02/90 was undertaken to carry out a demersal fish survey, and benthic sampling in the North West Shelf, encompassing three experimental management zones Barrow Island, Legendre and Port Hedland.
Data and samples collected include hydrological, length frequency for 15 species of fish, and otoliths for 4 of the major species, squid and cuttlefish biologicals and specimens (JCUNQ), numerous fish specimens for taxonomic identification, sediment and infauna samples, and video/camera photography of the trawls were carried out. Gear trials were also conducted at the beginning of the cruise.
This voyage forms part of the North West Shelf study conducted by CSIRO Division of Fisheries between 1982 and 1991. Related voyages are Soela SO 5/82, SO 6/82, SO 1/83, SO 2/83, SO 4/83, SO 5/83, SO 6/86, SO 7/87, SO 5/88; Pride of Eden PoE 4/89; Southen Surveyor SS 04/91.
PoE 1/89

[details]
Wade Whitelaw (CSIRO) Pride of Eden cruise PoE 1/89 (originally planned as Soela cruise SO 4/89, and referred to in some records as PoE 4/89) was undertaken to carry out a demersal fish survey and benthic sampling in the North West Shelf, encompassing three experimental management zones Barrow Island, Legendre and Port Hedland including the trap fishery area. Cruise aims were to determine the abundance of the demersal fish community and the distribution and abundance of demersal habitats in each of the three experimental management zones, to collect data and samples for measurement of recruitment, growth and mortality in key fish species, to obtain taxonomic specimens of North West Shelf fish species, to use underwater photography to record fish and benthic assemblages associated with random trawl stations, and to conduct submersible data logger (SDL) transects. A rendezvous with a commercial trawler was also made to record underwater video footage of the interaction of commercial trawl gear with the benthos.
This voyage forms part of the North West Shelf study conducted by CSIRO Division of Fisheries between 1982 and 1991. Related voyages are Soela SO 5/82, SO 6/82, SO 1/83, SO 2/83, SO 4/83, SO 5/83, SO 6/86, SO 5/88; Pride of Eden PoE 4/89; Southen Surveyor SS 02/90, SS 04/91.
SO 5/88

[details]
K. Sainsbury (CSIRO) Soela cruise SO 5/88 was undertaken to carry out a demersal fish survey, and benthic sampling in the North West Shelf, encompassing three experimental management zones Barrow Island, Legendre and Port Hedland. Cruise aims include to collect data and samples from the fish trawls. Sediment and in-fauna samples from benthic sampling. Continue trials of various fish traps and bait types. Conduct hydrological sampling with the submersible data logger (SDL). Obtain taxonomic specimens and photographs of NW slope fish, mollusc and crustacea species.
This voyage forms part of the North West Shelf study conducted by CSIRO Division of Fisheries between 1982 and 1991. Related voyages are Soela SO 5/82, SO 6/82, SO 1/83, SO 2/83, SO 4/83, SO 5/83, SO 6/86, SO 7/87, Pride of Eden PoE 4/89; Southen Surveyor SS 02/90, SS 04/91.
SO 7/87

[details]
K. Sainsbury & A.W. Whitelaw (CSIRO) Soela cruise SO 7/87 was undertaken to carry out a demersal fish survey and benthic sampling in the North West Shelf, encompassing three experimental management zones Barrow Island, Legendre and Port Hedland including the trap fishery area. Cruise aims were to determine the distribution and abundance of demersal habitats; to collect data and samples for recruitment, growth, mortality and diet studies; to conduct a survey with various designs of fish traps including underwater photography and to conduct submersible data logger (SDL) transects.
This voyage forms part of the North West Shelf study conducted by CSIRO Division of Fisheries between 1982 and 1991. Related voyages are Soela SO 5/82, SO 6/82, SO 1/83, SO 2/83, SO 4/83, SO 5/83, SO 6/86, SO 5/88; Pride of Eden PoE 4/89; Southen Surveyor SS 02/90, SS 04/91.
SO 6/86

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K. Sainsbury & R. Lindholm (CSIRO) (from cruise plan) Soela cruise SO 6/86 was undertaken to carry out a demersal fish survey, benthic sampling and hydrographic monitoring in the North West Shelf, encompassing three experimental management zones Barrow Island, Legendre and Port Hedland including the trap fishery area. Cruise aims were to determine the distribution and abundance of demersal habitats; to collect data and samples for recruitment, growth, mortality and diet studies; to determine and compare the abundance of demersal habitats in the North Rankin prohibited zone, with the adjacent areas which have remained open to trawling and to conduct a survey with fish traps and underwater photography.
This voyage forms part of the North West Shelf study conducted by CSIRO Division of Fisheries between 1982 and 1991. Related voyages are Soela SO 5/82, SO 6/82, SO 1/83, SO 2/83, SO 4/83, SO 5/83, SO 7/87, SO 5/88; Pride of Eden PoE 4/89; Southen Surveyor SS 02/90, SS 04/91.
SO 1/84

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T. Davis (CSIRO) Soela cruise SO 1/84 was undertaken for a lobster and prawn survey in the North West Shelf. Cruise aims were to determine the distribution, abundance, catch rates and size composition of metanephrops spp., carid and penaeid prawns in the region. To obtain photographic records of the trawl path at each station. To obtain sediment samples, and hydrological (bottom temperature, salinity and nutrients) samples from each station. Conduct storage and handling trials on each species of Metanephrops. To collect deep-water sharks from trawls. To collect species of Omnastrephid squid. Leg 1 25/1/1984 to 7/2/1984 and leg 2 8/2/1984 to 25/2/1984. Departure and arrival port Port Hedland.
SO 5/83

[details]
T. Davis & D. Tranter (CSIRO) Soela cruise SO 5/83 was undertaken to carry out a physical, chemical and biological sampling programme in the North West Shelf. Leg 1 cruise objectives were to determine the demersal fish community composition; determine zooplankton abundances at alternate trawl sites and collect larval fish; to obtain ichthyoplankton and demersal fish specimens for otolithic ageing. Leg 2 cruise objectives were to observe the effect of tidal amplitude on physical, chemical and biological parameters, with particular respect to plankton; gear trials; oceanographical sampling; to collect samples of fish and benthos for fatty acid analysis; to collect larval fish and to observe spoilage effects in fish of commercial importance.
This voyage forms part of the North West Shelf study conducted by CSIRO Division of Fisheries between 1982 and 1991. Related voyages are Soela SO 5/82, SO 6/82, SO 1/83, SO 2/83, SO 3/83, SO 4/83, SO 6/86, SO 7/87, SO 5/88; Pride of Eden PoE 4/89; Southern Surveyor SS 02/90, SS 04/91.
SO 4/83

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G. West & K. Sainsbury (CSIRO) Soela cruise SO 4/83 was undertaken to carry out a sampling programme in the North West Shelf for demersal fish, larval fish, benthic fauna, bottom types, zooplankton, and hydrology. Leg 1 cruise objectives were to determine the demersal fish community composition; determine zooplankton abundances at alternate trawl sites and collect larval fish; to obtain photography of trawls to determine gear efficiency and bottom types and to conduct an experimental trawl for scampi and photographs of deep water carid and paenaeid prawns. Leg 2 cruise objectives were to conduct sampling for hydrology, particulate matter, zooplankton and larval fish and to obtain benthic organisms.
This voyage forms part of the North West Shelf study conducted by CSIRO Division of Fisheries between 1982 and 1991. Related voyages are Soela SO 5/82, SO 6/82, SO 1/83, SO 2/83, SO 3/83, SO 5/83, SO 6/86, SO 7/87, SO 5/88; Pride of Eden PoE 4/89; Southen Surveyor SS 02/90, SS 04/91.
SO 3/83

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J. Stevens & A. Heron (CSIRO) Soela cruise SO 3/83 was undertaken to carry out a sampling programme in the North West Shelf for demersal fish, larval fish, benthic fauna, bottom types, zooplankton, phytoplankton and hydrology. Leg 1 cruise objectives were to determine the demersal fish community composition; determine zooplankton abundances at alternate trawl sites and collect larval fish; to obtain photography of trawls to determine gear efficiency and bottom types and to collect isopods, and other crustaceans for the National Museum of Victoria. Leg 2 cruise objectives were to conduct an intensive diel fish feeding study; sampling for hydrology, particulate matter, bacteria, phytoplankton, zooplankton and larval fish; to conduct a 24 hour study of phytoplankton, bacteria and zooplankton production cycles; examine the tidal currents on water column mixing and fluorescence properties, and to obtain benthic organisms.
This voyage forms part of the North West Shelf study conducted by CSIRO Division of Fisheries between 1982 and 1991. Related voyages are Soela SO 5/82, SO 6/82, SO 1/83, SO 2/83, SO 4/83, SO 5/83, SO 6/86, SO 7/87, SO 5/88; Pride of Eden PoE 4/89; Southen Surveyor SS 02/90, SS 04/91.
SO 2/83

[details]
J. Stevens & C. Stanley (CSIRO) Soela cruise SO 2/83 was undertaken to carry out a sampling programme in the North West Shelf for demersal fish, larval fish, benthic fauna, bottom types, zooplankton, and hydrology. Leg 1 cruise objectives were to determine the demersal fish community composition; determine zooplankton abundances at alternate trawl sites and collect larval fish; to obtain photography of trawls to determine gear efficiency and bottom types, and to release two satellite buoys. Leg 2 cruise objectives were to collect hydrological and particulate samples, fish larvae samples, benthic samples and specimens for Northern Territory Museum.
This voyage forms part of the North West Shelf study conducted by CSIRO Division of Fisheries between 1982 and 1991. Related voyages are Soela SO 5/82, SO 6/82, SO 1/83, SO 3/83, SO 4/83, SO 5/83, SO 6/86, SO 7/87, SO 5/88; Pride of Eden PoE 4/89; Southern Surveyor SS 02/90, SS 04/91.
SO 1/83

[details]
T. Davis & K. Sainsbury (CSIRO) Soela cruise SO 1/83 was undertaken to carry out a sampling programme in the North West Shelf for demersal fish, larval fish, benthic fauna, zooplankton and hydrology. Leg 1 cruise objectives were to determine the demersal fish community composition and abundance; examine the effect of lunar cycle on spawning activity of lutjanids; determine zooplankton abundances at alternate trawl sites and collect larval fish including carangid larvae. Leg 2 cruise objectives were to conduct hydrological sampling, including particulate matter, zooplankton and larval fish; examine lunar periodicity in the spawning cycle of lutjanids; to sample the benthos and three species of fish to examine their utilization of the benthos as food and to examine potential sites for experimental manipulation of the benthos.
This voyage forms part of the North West Shelf study conducted by CSIRO Division of Fisheries between 1982 and 1991. Related voyages are Soela SO 5/82, SO 6/82, SO 2/83, SO 3/83, SO 4/83, SO 5/83, SO 6/86, SO 7/87, SO 5/88; Pride of Eden PoE 4/89; Southern Surveyor SS 02/90, SS 04/91.
SO 6/82

[details]
T. Davis & A. Heron (CSIRO) Soela cruise SO 6/82 was undertaken to carry out a sampling programme in the North West Shelf for demersal fish, larval fish, benthic fauna, zooplankton and phytoplankton, and hydrology. Leg 1 cruise objectives were to collect biological information on demersal fish; examine the effect of lunar cycle on spawning activity of lutjanids; examine diel feeding cycles; determine zooplankton abundances at alternate trawl sites and collect larval fish; food technology studies on major commercial fish species including, the determination of the endemic bacterial flora, the rigor cycle, nucleotide analysis, storage trials; develop a method to obtain healthy fish for tagging and to launch two satellite buoys. Leg 2 cruise objectives were to conduct hydrological sampling; a 24 hour study of phytoplankton, bacteria and zooplankton production cycles; examine tidal currents on water column mixing and fluorescence properties; to collect benthic samples; to continue from leg 1 the study of the spawning activity of lutjanids and to carry out acoustic surveys of selected benthic sites in conjunction with John Penrose of W.A.I.T.
This voyage forms part of the North West Shelf study conducted by CSIRO Division of Fisheries between 1982 and 1991. Related voyages are Soela SO 5/82, SO 1/83, SO 2/83, SO 3/83, SO 4/83, SO 5/83, SO 6/86, SO 7/87, SO 5/88; Pride of Eden PoE 4/89; Southen Surveyor SS 02/90, SS 04/91.
SO 5/82

[details]
K. Sainsbury & R. Lindholm (CSIRO) Soela cruise SO 5/82 was undertaken for a biological and hydrological sampling programme in the North West Shelf. Leg 1 cruise objectives were to collect biological information on demersal fish; to determine zooplankton abundances of alternate trawl sites and collect larval fish; to collect benthic samples with grab and epibenthic sled and to develop a method of otbaining healthy fish for tagging. Leg 2 cruise objectives were to collect hydrology and particulate samples; to collect larval fish and zooplankton samples and to collect biological information on squid, lethrinids, carangids and sharks.
This voyage forms part of the North West Shelf study conducted by CSIRO Division of Fisheries between 1982 and 1991. Related voyages are Soela SO 6/82, SO 1/83, SO 2/83, SO 3/83, SO 4/83, SO 5/83, SO 6/86, SO 7/87, SO 5/88; Pride of Eden PoE 4/89; Southen Surveyor SS 02/90, SS 04/91.
SO 4/82

[details]
K. Sainsbury & G. West (CSIRO) Soela cruise SO 4/82 was undertaken for hydrological and biological sampling in the North West Shelf. Leg 1 cruise objectives were to conduct two hydrological sections across the shelf to 1000 m. Calibrate sampling device for trawl selectivity experiments and to develop a method to obtain healthy fish for tagging. Determine the catch rate of Metanaphrops obtained with a prawn trawl. Leg 2 cruise objectives were to carry out trawls to examine the effect of trawl duration on fish catch, and to assess fish species composition, total catch and catch of key species. To collect biological information on carangids, lutjanids, sharks, and squid. To collect water samples to determine nutrients and particulates in the water column. Conduct dredge sampling in selected localities. To collect benthic invertebrates for Western Australian Museum. To collect Lethrinus nematocanthus and Scolopsis regina for age determination/sex inversion studies.
SO 3/82

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P. Young (CSIRO) Soela cruise SO 3/82 was undertaken to survey the seabed of the North West Shelf. Bottom topography, and biological topological components were surveyed with remote TV recordings and colour photography. Sediment structure sampling was carried out with a dredge.
SO 2/82

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T. Davis (CSIRO) Soela cruise SO 2/82 was undertaken for a demersal fish survey, and benthic sampling in the North West Shelf. Cruise aims were to conduct biological studies on selected species of lutjanids, carangids, lethrinids, carcharinids, sphyrnids and metanephrops. To conduct experimental shark fishing at night using gill net and longline. Collect mesopelagic fishes and squid. Evaluate methods of retaining live specimens of lethrinids for shipment back to Cronulla. To deploy two current meter moorings and to release two satellite buoys.
SO 7/80

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G. West & W. Okera (CSIRO) Soela cruise SO 7/80 was undertaken for an acoustic and trawl survey of midwater and demersal fish in the Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ) sector of the Arafura Sea, and in the Gulf of Carpentaria (these regions were the main study area of the cruise, biological data was also planned to be collected from the North West Shelf region and from the Coral Sea). Cruise aims included to map the distribution and estimate the relative sizes of acoustically detected fish schools. Examine the composition of catches and undertake biological studies on samples. To carry out hydrological sampling in the Arafura Sea using Nansen casts for temperature, salinity, and nutrients. To observe surface sightings of pelagic schools. To map the distribution of sea bird species. To collect fish and sea snakes from the Arafura Sea for taxonomic studies. To examine samples of selected demersal fish species for sex reversal studies and to examine samples from the North West Shelf for continuing biological studies. To collect plankton samples. To carry out prawn net trawls in the Arafura Sea and GOC. To obtain composition data of stations originally trawled by CSIRO during 1963-65 in the south-east corner of the GOC.
SO 5/80

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W. Okera (CSIRO) Soela cruise SO 5/80 was undertaken to survey the nature of shoaling pelagic resources in the Timor sector of the Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ), undertake biological studies on the species found and determine the environmental conditions of the fished areas. Survey methods included acoustics, aimed and unaimed trawling, Nansen casts, dredge tows, vertical drop net casts, trolling and hand-lining, light fishing, and photography.
SO 4/80

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K. Sainsbury & A.W. Whitelaw (CSIRO) Soela cruise SO 4/80 was undertaken for a demersal fish trawl survey in the North West Shelf. Cruise objectives included to collect specimens of fish of selected species for continuing biological studies. To examine the pelagic fish community. To collect samples of selected demersal fish species to determine the incidence of sex reversal. To collect basic hydrographic and plankton data. Obtain comparisons between detailed chlorophyll extraction methods and the variosens sampler in tropical waters.
SO 1/79

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P. Young (CSIRO) Soela cruise SO 1/79 was undertaken to investigate the biology of fishes on the Australian North West Shelf between latitudes 19 and 21 degrees S, and longitudes 115 and 117 degrees E. Primary objectives were to collect biological information on fishes of the families Lethrinidae, Lutjanidae, Nemipteridae, and Priacanthidae. Secondary objectives included completing a hydrographic transect across the shelf, collecting biological information and photographs for other fish species, and collecting deep and midwater fishes for the Australian Museum and benthic invertebrates for the Western Australian Museum.
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