Dr. Tabitha Pearman is currently working at SAERI on a CFL funded project to map benthic species in Falklands’ waters and to assess the impact longlining activity has on the sea floor. This is a two-year project building on early assessment of vulnerable benthic habitats undertaken by Dr. Paul Brewin in support of our last MSC Certification reassessment process in 2018.
Part of Tabitha’s project is to ground-truth some of the assumptions Dr. Brewin made about distribution and presence of different species, specifically in longlining areas of the FOCZ, and in aid of that Tabitha went on a research cruise on the Hunter in January 2021, with camera in tow, to film activity on set lines on the ocean floor. The footage has given us an insight into what’s there, from the beautiful delicate corals to the rather shudder-inducing hagfish.
These particular bits of footage are considered favourites! Tabitha expects to complete her work around the end of 2022 with a series of recommendations on how we can best protect our vulnerable marine ecosystems in the deep.