Why are the Status of Australian Fish Stock Reports important for consumers

Why are the Status of Australian Fish Stock Reports important for consumers?

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Fish stocks are constantly changing and require constant monitoring.

The Reports provide a robust source of information. They provide a single location for stock status classifications from stocks in all jurisdictions, allowing consumers to see where their seafood comes from and if it is being sustainably caught and managed.

The Reports include stock status assessments with the scientific evidence that supports these classifications, basic biology information, catch graphs, information on the fisheries targeting the species (fishing methods, management methods, catch), and environmental issues. They also provide all the references where interested people can source more of the scientific detail.

The Reports are relevant for all stakeholders: the general public, policy makers, managers, fishing industry, consumers, retailers and an international audience alike. However, they are not an eco-label or a seafood chooser.

The classifications are based on the status of fish stocks; however, the status classifications do not consider all broader ecosystem impacts of fishing or social and economic considerations that some consumers may be interested in. These are being explored for future editions of the Reports.

The results from SAFS do provide a clear road map, highlighting areas that need further work, for management, industry and researchers.

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Fisheries management

The objective of Fisheries Management is to ensure the ongoing sustainability of harvest from the fish stocks in that fishery. Management of fisheries is undertaken at the jurisdictional level, and aims to optimise resource allocation (balancing social and economic considerations) and to minimise adverse impacts of fishing on the marine ecosystem and environment.

Historically stock assessments produced by different fisheries jurisdictions varied in scope, terminology and benchmarking for stock status. A point that was noted in the Australian Government’s State of the Environment Report 2011:

Foremost among the many issues is the lack of an integrated national system for assessment and reporting of marine condition.

A key achievement of the SAFS Reports has been to harmonise the systems used to do stock assessments across all jurisdictions.

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International Reporting – Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals comprise of 17 Goals, 169 targets and 232 indicators and adopted by the UN General Assembly on 6 July 2017.

Australia as a signatory, reports on progress towards delivering on meeting the Sustainable Development Goals Indicators (SDGs) via the Australian Government's Reporting Platform.

The Status of Australian Fish Stocks Reports provides the basis for the Australian Governments report against Indicator 14.4.1 – Proportion of fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels.

Banner image SDG Indicator 14.4.1