Positive outlook for Australian fish stocks

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 Australian Government managed fisheries.

Acting ABARES Executive Director, Peter Gooday, said the latest Fishery status reports 2019 revealed 70 per cent of fish stocks reviewed were not overfished and not subject to overfishing.

“The reports reflect a generally stable trend of stock status, with only five stocks changing status from last year,” Gooday said.

“A jointly managed stock, striped marlin in the Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery, is now classified as both overfished and subject to overfishing, and Australia is working with the other fishing nations of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission to try to rectify that.

“In fisheries solely managed by the Australian Government, no stocks were classified as subject to overfishing.

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“However, a number of stocks in these fisheries remain classified as overfished and it is uncertain whether stocks will rebuild under current mortality rates. The
Australian Fisheries Management Authority continues to work with stakeholders on strategies for rebuilding these stocks.

“There is also a small proportion of stocks, in both Australian Government managed and jointly managed fisheries, that are now classified as uncertain due to outdated assessments or to changes in catch that need to be monitored.

“The reports also look at the economic performance of fisheries managed by the Australian Government, with $390 million generated in gross value of production (GVP) in 2017–18. This represents 22 per cent of the $1.79 billion GVP of Australia’s total wild capture fisheries.”

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.