White Teatfish (Sea Cucumber) (2018)
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White Teatfish is a species of sea cucumber found in northern Australia. It is assessed as sustainable in Qld and in the Torres Strait Bêche-de-mer Fishery (Commonwealth). Stocks in the NT and the Commonwealth Coral Sea Fishery are undefined.
Stock Status Overview
|Queensland||East Coast Sea Cucumber Fishery||ECSCF||Sustainable||Catch, Effort, Catch rate, MSE|
- East Coast Sea Cucumber Fishery (QLD)
White Teatfish is broadly distributed throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific [Conand 1990]. There are likely to be populations in all Northern-Australian states and territories. However, there is very little information on the distribution, abundance and stock structure of White Teatfish in northern Australia. Current taxonomic records indicate that its distribution extends from Ningaloo in Western Australia to Brisbane, Queensland [ALA 2018]. The known depth range of this species is 0–40 m, but most animals are caught between 15 m and 30 m [Conand et al. 2013].
Here, assessment of stock status is reported at the management unit level—Torres Strait Beche-de-mer Fishery, Coral Sea Fishery (Commonwealth), Trepang Fishery (Northern Territory) and East Coast Sea Cucumber Fishery (Queensland).
East Coast Sea Cucumber Fishery
White Teatfish in Queensland is currently only harvested commercially. Nominal catch rates for White Teatfish have stabilised after a minor peak in 2010–11 and are now close to the average catch rate over the past 10 years [QDAF 2018]. Decreases in reported harvest over the past 15 years (from 131 t in 2003–04 to 49 t in 2016–17) are due to reductions in the quota for White Teatfish and do not reflect biomass declines. These voluntary reductions allowed the fishery participants to increase the take of other species within the constraints of the overall total allowable catch limit for the fishery. The above evidence indicates the biomass of this management unit is unlikely to be depleted and that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired.
White Teatfish are managed in Queensland under a rotational zoning scheme (RZS). Management strategy evaluation (MSE) of the RZS determined that the risk of the fishery depleting White Teatfish biomass to below 40 per cent of unfished biomass was very low under Queensland Sea Cucumber (East Coast) Fishery management arrangements [Skewes et al. 2014]. Spatial closures in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park protect an estimated 30 per cent of the White Teatfish spawning biomass and commercial catch quotas are in place to restrict catches to sustainable levels. The above evidence indicates the current level of fishing pressure is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.
On the basis of the evidence provided above, the East Coast Sea Cucumber Fishery (Queensland) management unit is classified as a sustainable stock.
White Teatfish (Sea Cucumber) biology [Purcell et al. 2012]
|Species||Longevity / Maximum Size||Maturity (50 per cent)|
|White Teatfish (Sea Cucumber)||12+ years, 570 mm TL||320 mm TL, 4 years|
|Commercial||49.14t in ECSCF|
- East Coast Sea Cucumber Fishery (QLD)
Northern Territory – Indigenous (Management methods) The Fisheries Act 1988 (NT), specifies that “…without derogating from any other law in force in the Territory, nothing in a provision of this Act or an instrument of a judicial or administrative character made under it limits the right of Aboriginals who have traditionally used the resources of an area of land or water in a traditional manner from continuing to use those resources in that area in that manner”.
Queensland – Indigenous (Management methods) Under the Fisheries Act 1994 (Qld), Indigenous fishers in Queensland are entitled to use prescribed traditional and non-commercial fishing apparatus in waters open to fishing. Size and possession limits, and seasonal closures do not apply to Indigenous fishers. Further exemptions to fishery regulations may be applied for through permits.
- Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) 2018, Holothuria (Microthele) fuscogilva Cherbonnier, 1980.
- Conand, C 1990, The fishery resources of Pacific island countries. Part 2. Holothurians, FAO, Rome.
- Conand, C, Purcell, S and Gamboa, R 2013, Holothuria fuscogilva. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T200715A2681354. Downloaded on 27 July 2018.
- Department of Agriculture and Fisheries 2018, Queensland Stock Status Assessment Workshop Proceedings 2018. Species Summaries, 19–20 June 2018, Brisbane.
- Patterson, H, Larcombe, J, Nicol, S andCurtotti, R 2018, Fishery status reports 2018, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra. CC BY 4.0.
- Purcell, S, Samyn, Y and Conand, C 2012, Commercially important sea cucumbers of the world, FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 6, Rome, 150 pp.
- Skewes, T, Plaganyi, E, Murphy, N, Pascual, R and Fischer, M 2014, Evaluating rotational harvest strategies for sea cucumber fisheries, CSIRO, Brisbane.
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