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Australian Fishing sector’s future depends on healthy aquatic habitats, environments and fisheries. To ensure the aquatic ecosystems continue to produce seafood for the present and future, Australia needs a scientifically rigorous independent assessment of fished stocks.

With eighty six percent of Australian’s living within fifty kilometres of the coast and a similar percentage of Australian’s enjoying consuming seafood – there is a need to demonstrate to the community and consumers that seafood is a responsible food choice and angling pastime.

Australia’s aquatic resources and the aquatic ecosystems in which they occur, if managed well, are renewable and capable of providing a long term supply of sustainable seafood. The Status of Australian Fish Stocks reports provides a scientifically robust and simple tool to inform fishers, seafood consumers, managers, policy makers and the broader community about the status of the key wild-caught fish stocks around Australia.

Compiling the 2016 reports was a significant undertaking, not only because the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation took over management, but because fifteen new species were added – some of which are very iconic such as the Western Australian Dhufish, others like Orange Roughy have endured a chequered past.

Over one hundred of Australia’s fisheries scientists were responsible for producing the eighty three species reports. In addition the FRDC called upon a further fifty fisheries scientists to anonymously review the reports.

The 2016 edition also sees a significant change to how data is presented and used. Data is now more integral to the reports construction. Readers will not only be able to see the data, they will be able to explore and interrogate it.

In the future the FRDC will undertake to further develop and evolve the Status of Australian Fish Stocks to a much more comprehensive and holistic view of what Australian seafood is sustainable and why. This will see the reports deliver information and assessments against four key elements. These elements are fish stocks, bycatch (non-target) species, management and aquatic habitat.

These four areas align to those defined by the FRDC Common language group as the key areas that underpin the definition of sustainable seafood. The reports will build on the existing web platform to allow businesses (supply chain and retail) to get a view on stock sustainability and availability, which can then translate to consumers and the community access to all the information that drives the assessments.

Completing the future transition will be the inclusion of another significant part of the seafood landscape – aquaculture. The assessments criteria are still being worked on but will place a similar level of rigour and assessment in place.

The third edition of the Status of Australian Fish Stocks has been a significant undertaking and continue to provide a national, scientifically robust assessment of the status of the key wild-caught fish stocks.

These reports could not have been produced without the significant assistance of the fisheries science community and the dedication of the FRDC team. I thank them for the ongoing development of the Status of Australian Fish Stocks and their commitment to the highest level of scientific input and process.

I am confident that Australia’s fish stocks are in a healthy state and that management is in place to ensure the ongoing sustainability of all our fisheries.


Dr Patrick W Hone

Executive Director
Fisheries Research and Development Corporation