Australian fish stocks are in good condition according to an independent assessment of the biological status of fish stocks managed jointly or solely by the Commonwealth across 22 fisheries.
The Fishery status reports 2019, released today, provides an evaluation of 96 Australian fish stocks assessed against strict performance criteria by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).
Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) CEO, Wez Norris, welcomed the report and said ensuring Commonwealth fisheries are sustainable is a top priority.
“The Fishery status reports 2019 shows that AFMA continues to effectively manage Commonwealth fisheries on behalf of the Australian community,” Mr Wez Norris said.
“All fish stocks solely managed by AFMA maintained their status as not subject to overfishing and not overfished, showing that the partnership of managers, the fishing industry and scientists continues to deliver good decisions in the interest of sustainability.
“The ABARES reports also highlight the economic contribution of the commercial fishing industry, with the gross value of production (GVP) for wild-catch fisheries at $1.79 billion in 2017-18.
“From an environmental perspective, there were no concerning issues or trends identified in relation to the outcomes of ecological risk assessments or interactions with protected species.
“While confirming that management outcomes remain largely on track, the reports also highlight areas of improvement, with some jointly-managed stocks now considered subject to overfishing and overfished, primarily striped marlin in the Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery.
“Looking ahead, there are a number of areas of focus for fisheries managers, particularly with the south east of Australia representing a global hot spot for changing sea-surface temperatures, so AFMA is prioritising research to understand impacts on fish stocks and develop adaptive management responses.
“AFMA continues to work closely with other Australian Government agencies, such as CSIRO and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, to undertake scientific research to assess and improve the status of uncertain and declining stocks.”
Read the full Fishery status reports 2019 at agriculture.gov.au/abares/publications.