Day 2: sampling off Otago Peninsula.
Our survey onboard the MV Tranquil Image has started after a rough transit from Wellington to Dunedin.
After a very successful day 1 deploying camera and traps in the shallow (50 and 100 m), today we have started exploring the deep canyons of the area some 25 nautical miles from the coast. The sea wasn’t the calmest this morning, but everybody seemed to enjoy the bouncy travel towards the 1200 m depth contour line. We have managed to deploy six video systems and four fish traps at depth ranging from 300 to 1200 m. Today’s highlight was surely the presence in high numbers of Owston’s dogfish (Centroscymnus owstoni) on the videos and also on the fish traps at depth 500 to 900 m. We caught a good size range from juveniles (15 cm) to adults (1.1 m) which will be very useful for future taxonomic studies. They were observed on the video feeding by taking a mouthful of sediments to find little benthic preys, expulsing the mud and sand by their gills. An unnoticed behaviour so far.
We were expecting to catch some hagfish in the area, but could not see any on the video, and none were attracted by the bait of our traps. We are hoping that the next days will bring the discovery of their presence in the area.
I will keep you posted on what’s going on here in a few days.
Vincent, Carl, Jeremy, Tom and Jesse.