Australian Sardine (2020)
Date Published: June 2021
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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.
Stock Status Overview
|Victoria||South Eastern Australia||Sustainable||Spawning biomass, exploitation rate, catch|
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.
South Eastern Australia
The South-eastern Australia stock of Australian Sardine was first assessed in 2018. Spawning biomass and exploitation rate are the primary biological performance indicators in the current assessment because some information on these measures is available from DEPM surveys undertaken primarily to assess Common Jack Mackerel.
A DEPM survey conducted during 2014 from eastern Tasmania, through eastern Bass Strait and eastern Victoria to southern NSW suggested that the spawning biomass in the eastern portion of the South Eastern Australia stock was approximately 11 000 t [Ward et al. 2015b]. A DEPM survey conducted during 2016–17 between western Kangaroo Island and south-western Tasmania suggested that the spawning biomass in the western portion of the South Eastern Australia stock was at least 30 000 t (Ward et al. 2020c). Neither of these surveys covered the entire spawning area, including parts of Bass Strait and both are likely to have under-estimated the total spawning biomass of the South Eastern Australia stock of Australian Sardine.
Catches of Australian Sardine from southern New South Wales have averaged approximately 120 t per annum since 2011–12, after a fire destroyed the processing factory in Eden during late 2010. Catches from eastern Victoria have increased but also fluctuated over the past decade with statewide landings peaking at 2628 t in 2010–11 and 2344 t in 2016–17. Commercial net fishing in Port Phillip Bay, where sardine have been taken historically, will cease by 2022. A developmental fishery was established in Tasmania in 2015 but catches to date have been limited.
Recent catches equate to exploitation rates of less than 20 per cent of the estimate of spawning biomass for the eastern component of this stock of 11,000 t, which is below the level considered safe for this species (i.e. 30 per cent) by Smith et al. .
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 Eastern Australia biological stock is classified as a sustainable stock.
Australian Sardine biology [Stewart et al. 2010, Ward and Grammer 2018]
|Species||Longevity / Maximum Size||Maturity (50 per cent)|
|Australian Sardine||9 years; 200–250 mm SL||1–2 years; 145 mm SL|
|Customary fishing permits|
|Indigenous||Unknown (No catch under permit)|
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- Small Pelagic Fishery, Resource Assessment Group, Meeting number 01 Meeting Minutes, 5 December 2019 Parkroyal, Melbourne Airport
- 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.
- 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.
- Victorian Fisheries Authority 2018, Commercial Fish Production, Victorian Fisheries Authority, Melbourne
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.