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Australian Sardine (2020)

Sardinops sagax

  • Tim Ward (South Australian Research and Development Institute)
  • Jeff Norriss (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia)
  • John Stewart (Department of Primary Industries, New South Wales)
  • Rocio Noriega (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences)
  • VFA (Victorian Fisheries Authority)

You are currently viewing a report filtered by jurisdiction. View the full report.

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Summary

The four separate biological stocks of Australian Sardine are sustainable. It is caught commercially in WA, SA, VIC, TAS, NSW, southern QLD and Commonwealth waters using nets. 

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Stock status Indicators
Western Australia South Western Australia Sustainable Spawning biomass, exploitation rate, catch
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Stock Structure

Australian Sardine off southern Australia is a meta-population [Whittington et al. 2008], with effective isolation of four separate biological stocks: the South-western (off Western Australia); Southern (off South Australia); South-eastern (off Victoria, Tasmania and southern NSW) and Eastern (off northern New South Wales and southern Queensland) Australian stocks [Izzo et al. 2017]. Recent evidence has confirmed the separation of the South Eastern Australia stock from the Eastern Australia stock [Sexton et al. 2018]. There is some evidence that the South-western and Eastern biological stocks each include two separate sub-components [Gaughan et al. 2002, Izzo et al. 2017]. The two sub-components off Western Australia were previously reported as two separate biological stocks, but these have now been merged into a single South Western Australia stock, which is managed as two management units.

Stock status for Australian Sardine is presented at the biological stock level—South Western Australia, Eastern Australia, South Eastern Australia and Southern Australia.

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Stock Status

South Western Australia

The South Western Australia stock of Australian Sardine off Western Australia is comprised of two separate management units with some biological separation: West Coast and South Coast. Here, stock status assessments are presented for both units. 

For the WA's West Coast, population modelling based on spawning biomass estimates obtained using the DEPM, catch-at-age and catch data, showed that by the mid-2000s the stock had recovered from the 1998–99 mass mortality caused by a herpes virus [Gaughan et al. 2008]. The annual exploitation rate in the mid-2000s was low at less than 5 per cent (around 400 t) of the estimated spawning biomass of approximately 25 000 t. Since then annual catches have remained below this level due to low fishing effort and are unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment overfished.

For WA's South Coast, population modelling based on spawning biomass estimates obtained using the DEPM, catch-at-age and catch data showed a recovery from the 1998–99 mass mortality had been achieved by the mid-2000s [Gaughan et al. 2008]. The annual exploitation rate at that time was low at around 3 per cent (less than 3 000 t from an estimated spawning biomass of approximately 97 000 t), and the total annual catch has not exceeded 3 000 t since then.

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 above evidence indicates that 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 South Western Australia biological stock is classified as a sustainable stock.

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Biology

Australian Sardine biology [Stewart et al. 2010, Ward and Grammer 2018]

Biology
Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Australian Sardine 9 years; 200–250 mm SL 1–2 years; 145 mm SL
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Distributions

Distribution of reported commercial catch of Australian Sardine
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Tables

Fishing methods
Western Australia
Commercial
Beach Seine
Purse Seine
Otter Trawl
Management methods
Method Western Australia
Commercial
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Spatial closures
Total allowable catch
Recreational
Bag limits
Gear restrictions
Licence (Recreational Fishing from Boat License)
Possession limit
Spatial closures
Catch
Western Australia
Commercial 1.09Kt
Indigenous Unknown
Recreational Insufficient data

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 (management methods) a Recreational Fishing from Boat License is required for use of a powered boat to fish or to transport catch or fishing gear to or from a land-based fishing location. 

New South Wales – Indigenous (management methods) https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fishing/aboriginal-fishing

Victoria – Indigenous (Management Methods) A person who identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is exempt from the need to obtain a Victorian recreational fishing licence, provided they comply with all other rules that apply to recreational fishers, including rules on equipment, catch limits, size limits and restricted areas. Traditional (non-commercial) fishing activities that are carried out by members of a traditional owner group entity under an agreement pursuant to Victoria’s Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 are also exempt from the need to hold a recreational fishing licence, subject to any conditions outlined in the agreement. Native title holders are also exempt from the need to obtain a recreational fishing licence under the provisions of the Commonwealth’s Native Title Act 1993.

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Australian Sardine - note confidential catch not shown
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References

  1. Gaughan, DJ, Craine, M, Stephenson, P, Leary, T and Lewis, P 2008, Regrowth of pilchard (Sardinops sagax) stocks off southern WA following the mass mortality event of 1998/99, final report to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, project 2000/135, Fisheries research report 176, Western Australian Department of Fisheries, Perth.
  2. Gaughan, DJ, Fletcher, WJ and McKinlay, JP 2002, Functionally distinct adult assemblages within a single breeding stock of the Sardine, Sardinops sagax: management units within a management unit, Fisheries Research, 59: 217–231.
  3. Izzo, C, Ward, TM, Ivey, AR, Suthers, IM, Stewart, J, Sexton, SC and Gillanders, BM 2017, Integrated approach to determining stock structure: implications for fisheries management of sardine, Sardinops sagax, in Australian waters. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries. 1: 267–284
  4. Primary Industries and Regions South Australia 2014, Management plan for the South Australian commercial Marine Scalefish Fishery. Part B: Management arrangements for the taking of sardines, PIRSA, Adelaide.
  5. Sexton, S.C., Ward, T.M., Stewart, J., Swaddling, K.M., and Huveneeers, C. 2018 Spawning patterns provide further evidence for multiple stocks of sardine (Sardinops sagax) off eastern Australia. Fisheries Oceanography DOI: 10.1111/fog.12383
  6. Small Pelagic Fishery, Resource Assessment Group, Meeting number 01 Meeting Minutes, 5 December 2019 Parkroyal, Melbourne Airport
  7. Smith, ADM, Ward, TM, Hurtado, F, Klaer, N, Fulton, E and Punt, AE 2015, Review and update of harvest strategy settings for the Commonwealth Small Pelagic Fishery: Single species and ecosystem considerations, final report to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, FRDC project 2013/028. Commonwealth Scientific and Industry Research Organisation Oceans and Atmosphere Flagship, Hobart.
  8. Stewart, J, Ballinger, G and Ferrell, D 2010, Review of the biology and fishery for Australian Sardines (Sardinops sagax) in New South Wales—2010, Industry and Investment New South Wales, Cronulla.
  9. Victorian Fisheries Authority 2018, Commercial Fish Production, Victorian Fisheries Authority, Melbourne
  10. Ward, T. M. and Grammer, G. L. (2018). Commonwealth Small Pelagic Fishery: Fishery Assessment Report 2017. Report to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority. South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. F2010/000270-9. SARDI Research Report Series No. 982. 114pp
  11. Ward, T. M., Grammer, G. L. and Ivey, A. R. (2021). Spawning biomass of Blue Mackerel (Scomber australasicus) and Australian Sardine (Sardinops sagax) in the East sub-area of the Small Pelagic Fishery. Report to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority. South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. F2021/000047-1. SARDI Research Report Series No. 1084. 56pp
  12. Ward, T. M., Grammer, G. L. Ivey, A. R. and Keane, J. (2020). Spawning biomass of Jack Mackerel (Trachurus declivis) in the East sub-area of the Small Pelagic Fishery during summer 2019. Report to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority. South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. F2020/000206-01. 42pp.
  13. Ward, T.M., Ivey, A.R. and Grammer, G.L.. (2020) Spawning biomass of Sardine, Sardinops sagax, in waters off South Australia in 2020. Report to PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture. South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. F2007/000566-11. SARDI Research Report Series No. 1074. 27pp.
  14. Ward, TM and Grammer, GL 2021. Commonwealth Small Pelagic Fishery: Status Summary Report 2020. Report to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority. South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. F2010/000270-10. SARDI Research Report Series No. 1021. 7 pp.
  15. Ward, TM, Burnell, O, Ivey, A, Carroll, J, Keane, J, Lyle, J and Sexton, S 2015, Summer spawning patterns and preliminary daily egg production method survey of Jack Mackerel and Australian Sardine off the East Coast, South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide.
  16. Ward, TM, Grammer, GL, Ivey, AR, Carroll, JR, Keane, JP, Stewart, J and Litherland, L 2015, Egg distribution, reproductive parameters and spawning biomass of Blue Mackerel, Australian Sardine and Tailor off the East Coast during late winter and early spring, FRDC Project 2014/033, South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide.
  17. Ward, TM, Smart, J, Grammer, G, Ivey, A and McGarvey, R. 2020. Stock assessment of Australian Sardine (Sardinops sagax) off South Australia 2019. Report to PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture (PDF 4.4 MB). South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. F2007/000765-7. SARDI Research Report Series No. 1048. 108pp.
  18. Whittington, RJ, Crockford, M, Jordan, D and Jones, B 2008, Herpesvirus that caused epizootic mortality in 1995 and 1998 in pilchard, Sardinops sagax neopilchardus (Steindachner), in Australia is now endemic, Journal of Fish Diseases, 31: 97–105.

Downloadable reports

Click the links below to view reports from other years for this fish.