Blue-eye Trevalla (2018)

Hyperoglyphe antarctica

  • Lee Georgeson (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences)
  • Luke Albury (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland)
  • Corey Wakefield (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia)
  • Jeremy Lyle (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania)
  • Rowan Chick (Department of Primary Industries, New South Wales)
  • Fabian Trinnie (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia)

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Blue-eye Trevalla is a sustainable species around the Australian coastline. It is mainly targeted by commercial fishing, but catch is highly variable.

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
Tasmania Eastern Australia SF Sustainable Catch, CPUE, fishing mortality
Scalefish Fishery (TAS)
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Stock Structure

Recently, three lines of evidence, based on phenotypic variation in age and growth, otolith chemistry and potential larval dispersal, suggest spatial patterns that may delineate natural subpopulations of Blue-eye Trevalla [Williams et al. 2017]. This research identified four geographically distinct subpopulations around the Australian coast: West, South, East and Seamounts-Lord Howe.

The results of the study by Williams et al. [2017] have not been implemented into management. Given that a single biological stock of Blue-eye Trevalla has been assumed for eastern Australian waters for the purposes of stock assessment and management, assessment of stock status is presented here at the biological stock level—Eastern Australia and Western Australia.

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Stock Status

Eastern Australia

Catches of the Eastern Australia biological stock of Blue-eye Trevalla are currently taken in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (Commonwealth Trawl Sector), Deep Water Fin Fish Fishery (Queensland) (DWFFF), Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (Gillnet, Hook and Trap Sector) (Commonwealth) (SESSF [GHTS]) and Ocean Trap and Line Fishery (New South Wales) (OTLF). Prior to 1998, catches were also taken in the Scalefish Fishery (Tasmania). Total catch in these fisheries was around 450 tonnes (t) in 2017. Commonwealth fisheries (primarily the SESSF [GHTS]) have made 85–95 per cent of the historical catch. Assessment of this stock is therefore based primarily on stock assessments for the SESSF (GHTS) fishery.

Blue-eye Trevalla caught off south-east Queensland are at the northern-most limit of their distribution [Kailola et al. 1993]. They were a key species in the DWFFF until 2012 and have since been incidentally harvested in the Rocky Reef Fin Fish Fishery. Commercial catch and effort for Blue-eye Trevalla has been highly variable since 2005 ranging from a peak of 58 t and 168 fishing days in 2009 to 1 t and 23 days’ effort in 2015 [QDAF 2018]. Commercial catch in 2017 remained low at 1.2 t. No recreational harvest of Blue-eye Trevalla has been reported in recent surveys [Webley et al. 2015].

Catches in excess of 90 t per year were made in the OTLF in the late-1900s. The total commercial catch of Blue-eye Trevalla peaked at about 120 t in 1999. Since then, total commercial catches have declined steadily to about 13 t in 2016–17. Recreational and Indigenous catches of Blue-eye Trevalla in New South Wales are unknown. Surveys of recreational and Indigenous catches have either not specified catches of Blue-eye Trevalla [West et al. 2015] or reported them into a broader ‘finfish - other’ category [Henry and Lyle 2003]. No separate assessments have been conducted for New South Wales Blue-eye Trevalla.

Blue-eye Trevalla caught in the south-eastern region of the Eastern Australia biological stock's distribution (Commonwealth fishing zones 10–50) constitute most of the catch of this stock. This stock component is assessed as a Tier 4 stock under the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery Harvest Strategy Framework using catch and effort data for the auto-longline and dropline fisheries. The most recent assessment for this stock was in 2017 using data from 1997 to 2016 [Haddon 2017]. The data included total catches, total discards and standardised catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE). The catch data used were from the Commonwealth Trawl Sector (zones 20 to 50 and the eastern seamounts), but excluded catches from the Great Australian Bight Trawl Sector (zones 84 and 85). The CPUE time series was a combination of catch-per-hook from dropline data (1997 to 2006) and auto-longline data (2002 to 2016).

There are various sources of uncertainty in the assessment. Two factors may potentially influence catch rates and fishing behaviour, which may result in CPUE being biased low: the presence of killer whales (Orca—Orcinus orca) near fishing operations, and exclusions from historical fishing grounds following closures implemented to rebuild gulper shark stocks [AFMA 2014]. The 2016 assessment did not detect large effects on catch rates due to the closures, but there remains uncertainty concerning the effect of whale depredations on CPUE.

The 2017 assessment indicates a decrease in CPUE from 2014 to 2016. Most of the catch is now caught by only a few vessels; consequently, the CPUE is currently more sensitive to changes in the fishing behaviour of these vessels. This is expected to increase the variance of the CPUE [Haddon 2016].

The 2017 assessment [Haddon 2017] indicates that recent average CPUE is between the limit and the target reference level, indicating that the stock is not recruitment impaired. For the 2017–18 fishing season, the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) was 458 t and the recommended biological catch (RBC) was 526 t. The 2017–18 landed catch by the Commonwealth fisheries was below the RBC at 327 t.

The above evidence indicates that the stock biomass is unlikely to be depleted and that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired. Furthermore, current fishing mortality is unlikely to result in the stock becoming recruitment impaired.

There is insufficient evidence to independently classify the status of the New South Wales and Queensland components of the Eastern Australia biological stock, although these make a small contribution to the overall catch and are unlikely to significantly affect determination of stock status for the entire Eastern Australia stock.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Eastern Australia biological stock is classified as a sustainable stock.

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Blue-eye Trevalla biology [Baelde 1995, Stobutzki et al. 2009]

Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Blue-eye Trevalla Eastern Australia: 42 years, 1 400 mm TL Western Australia: 65 years, 1 300 mm TL Males 620 mm TL, females 720 mm TL Males 8–9 years, females 11–12 years
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Distribution of reported commercial catch of Blue-eye Trevalla

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Fishing methods
Management methods
Method Tasmania
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Bag limits
Spatial closures
Trigger limits
Commercial 149.88kg in SF
Indigenous Unknown
Recreational 12.5 t (2011–12)
Scalefish Fishery (TAS)

Commonwealth – Recreational The Australian Government does not manage recreational fishing in Commonwealth waters. Recreational fishing in Commonwealth waters is managed by the state or territory immediately adjacent to those waters, under its management regulations.

Commonwealth – Indigenous The Australian Government does not manage non-commercial Indigenous fishing in Commonwealth waters, with the exception of the Torres Strait. In general, non-commercial Indigenous fishing in Commonwealth waters is managed by the state or territory immediately adjacent to those waters.

Western Australia – Recreational (Catch) Boat-based recreational catch is from 1 September 2015–31 August 2016. These data are derived from those reported in Ryan et al. 2017.

Western Australia – Recreational (Management Methods) A Recreational Fishing from Boat License is required for the use of a powered boat to fish or to transport catch or fishing gear to or from a land-based fishing location.

Western Australia – Indigenous Subject to the defence that applies under Section 211 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), and the exemption from a requirement to hold a recreational fishing licence, the non-commercial take by indigenous fishers is covered by the same arrangements as that for recreational fishing.

New South Wales – Commercial Dropline cannot be automated in New South Wales.

New South Wales – Indigenous (Management Methods) (a) The Aboriginal cultural fishing authority is the authority that Indigenous persons can apply to take catches outside the recreational limits under the Fisheries Management Act 1994 (NSW), Section 37 (1d)(3)(9), Aboriginal cultural fishing authority; and (b) In cases where the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) applies fishing activity can be undertaken by the person holding native title in line with S.211 of that Act, which provides for fishing activities for the purpose of satisfying their personal, domestic or non-commercial communal needs. In managing the resource where native title has been formally recognised, the native title holders are engaged with to ensure their native title rights are respected and inform management of the State's fisheries resources.

Queensland – Indigenous (Management Methods) In Queensland, under the Fisheries Act 1994 (Qld), Indigenous fishers are able 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.

Tasmania – Recreational (Management Methods) In Tasmania, a recreational licence is required for fishers using dropline or longline gear, along with nets, such as gillnet or beach seine.

Tasmania – Charter (management Methods) In New South Wales there are four charter boat endorsement categories (Estuarine Fishing; Nearshore Bottom Fishing and Sportfishing; Gamefishing; and Deep Sea Bottom Fishing). The different categories have limitations on the species of fish they can access.

Tasmania – Indigenous (Management Methods) In Tasmania, aborigines engaged in aboriginal fishing activities in marine waters are exempt from holding recreational fishing licences, but must comply with all other fisheries rules as if they were licensed. Additionally, recreational bag and possession limits also apply. If using pots, rings, set lines or gillnets, Aborigines must obtain a unique identifying code (UIC). The policy document Recognition of Aboriginal Fishing Activities for issuing a UIC to a person for Aboriginal Fishing activity explains the steps to take in making an application for a UIC.

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Blue-eye Trevalla - note confidential catch not shown.

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  1. AFMA 2014, 'SESSF Fishery Slope Resource Assessment Group (SlopeRAG), minutes, 30 October 2014, Hobart', SlopeRAG, AFMA, Canberra.
  2. Baelde, P 1995, Blue-eye trevalla 1994, compiled by Pascale Baelde for the South East Fishery Assessment Group, Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra.
  3. DPIRD 2017, North Coast demersal scalefish resource harvest strategy 2017 – 2021. Version 1.0. Fisheries Management Paper No. 285. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Government of Western Australia, Perth, Australia. 35p.
  4. Haddon 2017, Tier 4 Assessment for Blue-eye trevalla (data to 2016), CSIRO.
  5. Haddon, M 2016, Tier 4 analyses for selected species in the SESSF (data from 1986–2015), draft version, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Hobart.
  6. Henry, GW and Lyle, JM 2003, The national recreational and Indigenous fishing survey. Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra.
  7. Kailola, PJ, Williams, MJ, Stewart, PC, Reichelt, RE, McNee, A and Grieve, C, 1993, Australian fisheries resources. Bureau of resource sciences, department of primary industries and energy. Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra, Australia.
  8. Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries 2018, Queensland Stock Status Assessment Workshop Proceedings 2018. Species Summaries. 19–20 June 2018, Brisbane.
  9. Ryan, KL, Hall, NG, Lai, EK, Smallwood, CB, Taylor, SM, Wise, BS 2017, Statewide survey of boat-based recreational fishing in Western Australia 2015/16. Fisheries research Report No. 287. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Government of Western Australia, Perth. 
  10. Stobutzki, I, Patterson, H, Ward, P, Sampaklis, A, Sahlqvist, P, Moore, A and Viera, S 2009, Commonwealth Trawl and Scalefish Hook Sectors, in Wilson, D, Curtotti, R and Begg, G (eds) 2009, Fishery status reports 2009: status of fish stocks and fisheries managed by the Australian Government, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics – Bureau of Rural Sciences, Canberra.
  11. Webley, J, McInnes, K, Teixeira, D, Lawson, A and Quinn, R 2015, Statewide Recreational Fishing Survey 2013-14, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  12. West, LD, Stark, KE, Murphy, JJ, Lyle, JM and Ochwada-Doyle, FA 2015, Survey of recreational fishing in New South Wales and the ACT, 2013/14. Fisheries Final Report Series No. 149. NSW Department of Primary Industries, Wollongong.
  13. Williams, A, Hamer, P, Haddon, M, Robertson, S, Althaus, F, Green, M and Kool, J 2017, Determining Blue-eye Trevalla stock structure and improving methods for stock assessment, FRDC final report, FRDC project no. 2013/015

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