What are the Status of key Australian fish stocks reports 2016

What are the Status of key Australian fish stocks reports 2016

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The productivity of Australia's commercial wild-catch fisheries depends on the state of the wild fish stocks. In some cases, these fish stocks also support recreational and Indigenous fisheries. They are also part of the broader marine ecosystems and environment. One of the key aims of fisheries management is to ensure that fish stocks are maintained at sustainable levels. This is reflected in international, Commonwealth, state and territory legislation. The Status of Australian fish stocks reports 2016 assesses the biological sustainability of a broad range of wild-caught fish stocks against a nationally agreed framework. In short, the reports examine whether the abundance of fish (or biomass) and the level of harvest from the stock are sustainable.

Fisheries management also considers other aspects of ecologically sustainable development, such as the effects of fishing on the marine environment, economic performance and governance. Although these issues are not considered in the stock status classification, the reports provide comments on the effects of fishing on the marine environment and environmental effects on the stocks. There is increasing interest in the state of fish stocks, the sustainability of fisheries and the marine environment, from fishers, seafood consumers, policy makers and the broader community.

Hundreds of species are caught and sold from Australia's wild-capture fisheries. The Status of Australian fish stocks reports 2016 covers 83 key species or species complexes. The species included represent almost 90 per cent of the annual catch and value of Australian wild-capture fisheries in 2014–15. They also reflect the wide diversity of species found in Australian fisheries and markets, including shellfish, crustaceans (such as prawns and crabs), squid, finfish and sharks. They cover species from the tropical waters of northern Australia to the temperate waters of the south, and species caught on the high seas.

Traditionally, 'fishery status reports' have been produced by most jurisdictions, assessing the key fish stocks they manage, and reporting on the effectiveness of their fisheries management. However, the format and type of stock status assessments have historically varied, as has the terminology used to describe the status of stocks. This, at least in part, reflects the different regulatory requirements in different jurisdictions with marine fisheries. However, it has made understanding stock status at a national level challenging. Also, some biological stocks of fish span more than one jurisdiction—in these cases, it has often been difficult to understand the overall status of the shared biological stocks.

The inaugural Status of key Australian fish stocks reports 2012 provided the first national, scientifically robust stock status assessments of Australian fish stocks. The reports in 2012, 2014 and the current edition 2016, were developed with the involvement of Australia's leading fisheries scientist and research agencies across all jurisdictions. They provide a key information source for fishers, seafood consumers, policy makers and the broader community. They will also inform the broader international community about Australia's fisheries management performance.

At present, separate jurisdictional reports, such as the Fishery status reports, produced for Commonwealth fisheries by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), will continue to be produced to meet legislative and policy requirements specific to each jurisdiction. Typically, jurisdictional reporting is undertaken at a fishery level; reports may include information on the history of catch and fishing activity in the fishery, management conditions, stock status, any bycatch or ecological impacts of the fishery on the environment, and the extent of recreational interest in a stock or species. Jurisdictional reports may also include the legislative and policy objectives for a fishery, and any economic conditions affecting performance. They tend to be annual, so that there is regular feedback on management performance. For Commonwealth fish stocks, the Status of Australian fish stocks reports 2016 considers equivalent biological information to that presented in the Commonwealth Fishery status reportsa but presents classifications based on the nationally agreed Status of Australian fish stocks reports 2016 classification framework. In developing the Status of key Australian fish stocks reports, several jurisdictions have reviewed their status determination processes and are modifying their jurisdictional reports to follow the framework applied in the national reports, where possible. Over time, the Status of key Australian fish stocks reports may reduce the requirement for separate jurisdictional reports.

 


 

a Patterson, H, Noriega, R, Georgeson, L, Stobutzki, I & Curtotti, R 2016, Fishery status reports 2016, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra. CC BY 3.0.