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, Dr Steve Hatfield-Dodds, said the Fishery status reports 2018 showed that 65 stocks (or 68 per cent) were both not overfished and not subject to overfishing, out of the 95 fish stocks reviewed across the 22 fisheries managed both solely and jointly by the Australian Government.
“The reports reflect a positive change in a number of stocks managed jointly with regional fisheries management organisations. For example, southern bluefin tuna is now classified as not subject to overfishing for the first time in the history of the Fishery status reports, first released in 1992,” Dr Hatfield-Dodds said.
“In addition, both bigeye tuna and swordfish in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery are now classified as not overfished and not subject to overfishing.
“Although this is the fifth consecutive year there were no stocks classified as subject to overfishing in any fishery solely managed by the Australian Government, a number of stocks in these fisheries remain classified as overfished and it is uncertain whether stocks will rebuild under mortality rates. The Australian Fisheries Management Authority continues to work with stakeholders on rebuilding strategies for these stocks.
“There are also a number of stocks, in both solely and jointly managed fisheries that are now classified as uncertain due to changes in catch that need to be monitored, or the lack of up to date assessments.
“The reports also look at the economic performance of Commonwealth fisheries, with $403 million generated in gross value of production (GVP) in 2016–17. This represents 23 per cent of Australia’s total wild capture fisheries GVP of $1.75 billion.”