Key results

Key results

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Australia’s fish stocks are well managed and a majority are healthy, with almost 85% were classified sustainable or recovering.

In total one hundred and twenty (120) species were reviewed for the 2018 Reports;- for ease of sorting and presenting the data you can also download an xls spreadsheet of results.

The 2018 Reports assessed 37 new species, including the iconic – Australian Herring, Black Bream, Silver and Blue Warehou, Eastern Sea Garfish, Elephantfish, Estuary Cobbler, John and Mirror Dory, Mahi Mahis, Periwinkle, Redfish, Yellowfin Whiting and the first Sea Cucumber (White Teatfish).

  • One hundred and twenty species were assessed across Australia.
  • Thirty seven new species were added in the 2018 Reports.
  • All five prawn species were assessed as sustainable.
  • All five whiting species (Eastern School, King George, Sand, Stout and Yellowfin Whiting) were assessed as sustainable.
  • All four lobster species were assessed as sustainable.
  • Three hundred and twenty four (324) stocks were able to be assessed out of the four hundred and six stocks (406) across the species.
    • 254 stocks were classified as sustainable
    • 18 stocks are classified as recovering
    • 23 stocks are classified as depleting and
    • 29 stocks were classified as depleted. Importantly all have recovery management plans in place that aim to rebuild the stocks.

Stock Status

Number of stocks

Total stocks

 

Catch

 

% of catch species

 

Biological stock

Management unit

Jurisdiction

Sustainable

99

99

57

255

128,893

90.5

Depleting

6

12

4

22

4,199

3.1

Recovering

8

8

2

18

6,547

4.6

Depleted

11

13

5

29

1,115

0.8

Undefined

12

22

20

54

1,573

1

Negligible

3

3

22

28

721

0

Total

139

157

110

406

142,328

100

 

There were 54 stocks classified as undefined and a further 28 classified as negligible. The undefined stock classification does not necessarily mean that the stock is at increased risk; it means that there is limited or conflicting information available to undertake the assessment. Stocks classified as negligible are unlikely to be at risk due to their very small size.

There were 139 stock status assessments at the biological stock level, 157 at the management unit level and 110 at the jurisdiction level.

The reports account for a majority of the Australian caught fish that Australians will eat. The total volume of commercial catch reported in the 2018 Reports was 142,328. This is an increase of almost 8,000 tonnes on the volume assessed in the 2016 Reports.

Monitoring species recovery

A goal of the Status Reports has been to report on stock status trends over time. Fisheries and the marine environment are constantly changing. They are dynamic systems and the reports provide an insight into how species are faring and where management controls are needed, for example, to reduce catch or to protect fish during spawning.

In 2018, we mark the fourth edition. In this Edition we are now able to start to see some trends of species going from being depleted back to sustainable and vice versa – sustainable going to depleted.

One key species where we have seen such a movement is Southern Bluefin Tuna. After more than twenty years it moves from depleted to recovering. Recent assessments have shown clear progress towards the rebuilding target set by the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) to guide the recovery of the biological stock to 20 per cent of unfished biomass by 2035. We are not there yet, but from all accounts we are well on our way to achieving that target before 2035.

Below are some of the species that have changed over the past three years.

Improving

Species – Stock assessed

2014

2016

2018

Southern Bluefin Tuna

Depleted

Depleted

Recovering

Big Eye Tuna – Pacific Ocean

Depleted

Depleted

Sustainable

Blue Swimmer Crab – Cockburn Sound

Depleted

Depleted

Recovering

Blue Swimmer Crab – Shark Bay

Depleted

Recovering

Recovering

Blue Swimmer Crab – Gulf St Vincent

Recovering

Sustainable

Sustainable

Blacklip Abalone  Victorian Western Zone Fishery

Depleted

Sustainable

Sustainable

Depleting

Species – Stock assessed

2014

2016

2018

Ballot's Saucer Scallop - East Coast Trawl Fishery

Sustainable

Depleted

Depleted

Commercial Scallop – Victoria

Undefined

Undefined

Depleted

Commercial Scallop – Tasmania

Undefined

Undefined

Depleted

Snapper – Shark Bay oceanic, WA

Sustainable

Recovering

Depleted

Snapper – Northern Spencer Gulf Fishery, SA

Depleting

Depleting

Depleted

Blacklip Abalone Victorian Central Zone Fishery

Depleted

Depleting

Depleting

Blacklip Abalone New South Wales

Recovering

Sustainable

Depleting

Blacklip Abalone Tasmanian Eastern Zone Fishery

Recovering

Sustainable

Depleting