Abstract Studies of the interactions of demersal fishing gear with the benthic environment are needed in order to manage conservation of benthic habitats. There has been limited direct assessment of these interactions through deployment of cameras on commercial fishing gear especially on demersal longlines. A compact, autonomous deep-sea video system was designed and constructed by the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) for deployment on commercial fishing gear to observe interactions with benthos in the Southern Ocean finfish fisheries (targeting toothfish, Dissostichus spp). The Benthic Impacts Camera System (BICS) is capable of withstanding depths to 2500 m, has been successfully fitted to both longline and demersal trawl fishing gear, and is suitable for routine deployment by non-experts such as fisheries observers or crew. The system is entirely autonomous, robust, compact, easy to operate, and has minimal effect on the performance of the fishing gear it is attached to. To date, the system has successfully captured footage that demonstrates the interactions between demersal fishing gear and the benthos during routine commercial operations. It provides the first footage demonstrating the nature of the interaction between demersal longlines and benthic habitats in the Southern Ocean, as well as showing potential as a tool for rapidly assessing habitat types and presence of mobile biota such as krill ( Euphausia superba).