Grey Mackerel (2018)
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The five stocks of Grey Mackerel assessed across Australia’s northern waters are all sustainable.
Stock Status Overview
|Western Australia||Western Australia||MMF||Sustainable||Catch, indicator species|
- Mackerel Managed Fishery (WA)
There are at least five Grey Mackerel biological stocks across northern Australia, with a possible additional stock in the north east Gulf of Carpentaria [Broderick et al. 2011, Charters et al. 2010, Newman et al. 2010, Welch et al. 2009, Welch et al. 2015].
Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the biological stock level—Western Australia, North West Northern Territory, Gulf of Carpentaria, North East Queensland and South East Queensland.
Grey Mackerel is exploited as a component of the Mackerel Managed Fishery (Western Australia) (MMF) [Charters et al. 2010]. The primary target species of the Mackerel Managed Fishery is Spanish Mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson). As such there has been no formal stock assessment of Grey Mackerel in Western Australia and the species is assessed on the basis of catch only and the status of the indicator species (Spanish Mackerel) that represents the pelagic suite of species. A stock assessment of Spanish Mackerel, examining catch and effort data, biological information, biomass and yield per recruit modelling indicated that this stock is sustainable [Gaughan and Santoro 2018]. Since significant management changes in 2006, the catch and effort in the MMF have remained stable. In addition, Grey Mackerel are fast growing and have a young age at sexual maturity (less than two years old) [Cameron and Begg 2002, Great Barrier Reef Management Authority 2012, Welch et al. 2009], which is below the size limit in Western Australia, providing some resilience to fishing pressure.
Furthermore, annual Grey Mackerel catch levels by the MMF from 2000–17 have been low, ranging between 3.5 and 24 tonnes (t), with the vast majority of recent catches taken by only two vessels from a small area of their range [Gaughan and Santoro 2018]. This level of catch is well below the total allowable commercial catch (TACC ; 60 t for each of the three management areas) for Grey Mackerel and very low in comparison with other states. The low levels of catch are likely reflective of the low demand and limited targeting of the species in the fishery. In addition, there is low annual charter boat catch of < 1 t and recreational catch of the species is estimated at less than 3 t by the three boat-based surveys between 2011 and 2016 [Ryan et al. 2017, Ryan et al. 2015, Ryan et al. 2013], which is also likely due to low targeting. Thus, based on the catch history it is likely that the level of stock depletion is minimal and the level of risk is estimated to be low. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be depleted and that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired. Furthermore, the current level of fishing mortality is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.
On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Western Australia biological stock is classified as a sustainable stock.
Grey Mackerel biology [Cameron and Begg 2002, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries 2016]
|Species||Longevity / Maximum Size||Maturity (50 per cent)|
|Grey Mackerel||14 years, 1 200 mm FL||Females 2 years, 650–700 mm FL Males 1–2 years, 550–600 mm FL|
|Hand Line, Hand Reel or Powered Reels|
|Hook and Line|
|Hook and Line|
|Hook and Line|
|Total allowable catch|
|Laws of general application|
|Commercial||15.96t in MMF|
|Charter||0.69 t in Tour Operator|
|Recreational||<1 t (98 fish, se +/- 68; 2015–16)|
- Mackerel Managed Fishery (WA)
Western Australian – Recreational (catch) Western Australian boat-based recreational catch survey from 1 Sep 2015–30 Aug 2016. Shore based recreational catch (if any) largely unknown.
Western Australia – Recreational (Management methods) Western Australian boat-based recreational licence required.
Northern Territory – Charter (management methods) In the Northern Territory, charter operators are regulated through the same management methods as the recreational sector but are subject to additional limits on license and passenger numbers.
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 – Commercial (catch) (a) The reporting period for the and Queensland (East coast [Queensland]) is the 2016–17 financial year, (b) With reference to the East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fishery; 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 in possession limits and seasonal closures do not apply to Indigenous fishers. Further exemptions to fishery regulations may be applied for through permits, (c) With reference to the East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fishery; Queensland east coast stock only—limits applied to the combined catch of the two east coast stocks, and (d) With reference to the East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fishery; includes minor levels of catch from the Bowen region which is not considered part of the North-east Queensland and South-east Queensland biological stocks.
Indigenous The reporting period for the Commonwealth (Torres Strait) and Queensland (east coast [Queensland]) is the 2012–13 financial year.
- Broderick, D, Ovenden, J, Buckworth, R, Newman, S, Lester, R and Welch, D 2011, Genetic population structure of grey mackerel Scomberomorus semifasciatus in northern Australia, Journal of Fish Biology, 79: 633–661.
- Cameron, D and Begg, G 2002, Fisheries biology and interaction in the northern Australian small mackerel fishery, final report to Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, projects 92/144 and 92/144.02, Department of Primary Industries, Queensland.
- Charters, R, Lester, R, Buckworth, R, Newman, S, Ovenden, J, Broderick, D, Kravchuk, O, Ballagh, A and Welch, D 2010, The stock structure of grey mackerel Scomberomorus semifasciatus in Australia as inferred from its parasite fauna, Fisheries Research, 101: 94–99.
- Department of Agriculture and Fisheries 2016. Grey Mackerel Update. www.daf.qld.gov.au/fisheries/monitoring-our-fisheries/commercial-fisheries/species-specific-programs/monitoring-reporting/grey-mackerel-update
- Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry 2014, Queensland Stock Status Assessment Workshop 2014, 5–6 June 2014, Brisbane, Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
- Gaughan, DJ and Santoro, K (eds) 2018, Status Reports of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of Western Australia 2016/17: The State of the Fisheries. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia.
- Great Barrier Reef Management Authority 2012, A Vulnerability Assessment of the Great Barrier Reef - Grey mackerel, Great Barrier Reef Management Authority, Townsville.
- Grubert, M, Saunders, T, Martin, J, Lee, H and Walters, C 2013, Stock Assessments of Selected Northern Territory Fishes, Fishery Report 110, Northern Territory Government, Australia.
- Lemos, RT, Wang, Y-G, O'Neill, MF, Leigh, G and Helmke, S 2014, East Queensland Grey Mackerel Stock Assessment, Brisbane.
- Newman, S, Wright, I, Rome, B, Mackie, M, Lewis, P, Buckworth, R, Ballagh, A, Garrett, R, Stapley, J, Broderick, D, Ovenden, J and Welch, D 2010, Stock structure of grey mackerel, Scomberomorus semifasciatus (Pisces: Scombridae) across northern Australia, based on otolith isotope chemistry, Environmental Biology of Fishes, 89: 357–367.
- Northern Territory Government 2012, Fishery Status Reports 2011, Fishery Report 111, Northern Territory Government.
- Northern Territory Government 2017, Fishery Status Reports 2015, Fishery Report 118, Northern Territory Government Department of Resources, Darwin, Northern Territory.
- Ryan, K, Wise, B, Hall, N, Pollock, K, Sulin, E and Gaughan, D 2013, An integrated system to survey boat-based recreational fishing in Western Australia 2011/12, Department of Fisheries, Western Australia.
- Ryan, KL, Hall, NG, Lai, EK, Smallwood, CB, Taylor, SM and Wise BS 2017, State-wide survey of boat-based recreational fishing in Western Australia 2015/16, Fisheries Research Report 287, Department of Fisheries, Western Australia.
- Ryan, KL, Hall, NG, Lai, EK, Smallwood, CB, Taylor, SM and Wise BS, 2015, State-wide survey of boat-based recreational fishing in Western Australia 2013/14, Fisheries Research Report 268, Department of Fisheries, Western Australia.
- Welch, D, Buckworth, R, Ovenden, J, Newman, S, Broderick, D, Lester, R, Ballagh, A, Stapley, J, Charters, R and GribbleN 2009, Determination of management units for grey mackerel fisheries in northern Australia, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation project 2005/010, Fishing and Fisheries Research Centre Technical Report 4, Fishing and Fisheries Research Centre, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia.
- Welch, D, Newman, S, Buckworth, R, Ovenden, J, Broderick, D, Lester, R, Gribble, N, Ballagh, A, Charters, R, Stapley, J, Street, R, Garrett, R and Begg, G 2015, Integrating different approaches in the definition of biological stocks: A northern Australian multi-jurisdictional fisheries example using grey mackerel Scomberomorus semifasciatus, Marine Policy, 55:73-80.
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