A new report from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has delivered generally positive news for wild fish stocks in Commonwealth managed fisheries.
ABARES Executive Director, Steve Hatfield-Dodds, said the Fishery status reports 2017 showed that of the 94 fish stocks reviewed across the 22 fisheries managed both solely and jointly by the Australian Government, 65 stocks (or 69 per cent) were both not overfished and not subject to overfishing.
Dr Hatfield-Dodds noted that for the fourth consecutive year there were no stocks classified as subject to overfishing in any fisheries managed solely by the Australian government—a measure important in ensuring sustainable levels of harvest.
“The reports reflect a positive change in status of the commercial scallop stock in the central Bass Strait, which has had an uncertain biomass and fishing mortality status for a number of years, but is now classified as not overfished and not subject to overfishing.
“However, a number of stocks managed solely by the Australian Government remain classified as overfished and it is uncertain whether stocks will rebuild under the current level of fishing mortality. The Australian Fisheries Management Authority continues to work with stakeholders on rebuilding strategies for overfished stocks.
“There is also one stock that is internationally managed and fished by several nations—bigeye tuna in the western and central Pacific Ocean—that is both subject to overfishing and overfished. Yellowfin tuna in the Indian Ocean is also subject to overfishing.
“The reports also look at the economic performance of Commonwealth fisheries, with $439 million generated in gross value of production (GVP) in 2015–16. This represents 26 per cent of Australia’s total wild capture fisheries GVP of $1.7 billion.
This report forms part of a suite of ABARES publications that provide a comprehensive and multidimensional account of the trends and outlook for Australian fisheries.
Source: Australian Government