International researchers at the Small Pelagic Fisheries Technical Workshop and Stakeholder Forum held last week in Adelaide concluded Australian fisheries science and management was on a par with the rest of the world.

The workshop, hosted by the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), brought together over twenty researchers from the United States, Chile, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Greece and Australia.

The aim of the workshop was to benchmark Australia against the rest of the world in terms of our fisheries assessment and management to ensure that it was peer reviewed, transparent, independent, and repeatable.

Discussions over the five days were wide ranging and concluded with an open forum where recreational fishers, environmentalists and industry came together to discuss key issues with the researchers. The discussions identified areas where consensus could not be reached, and these have been identified as areas for future research.

Dr Patrick Hone, Executive Director of the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) said, “a key finding was that the science underpinning Australian fisheries management was robust and that our harvest strategy and rules were clearly precautionary and very much in line with the best practice guidelines put forward by the Lenfest Working Group and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)”. 

“These science based guidelines were established so that the effects of fishing could be minimised and would not pose a threat to other species in the food chain”, said Dr Hone.

Fisheries Management has to be based on the best available science. In 2012 the science underpinning the Small Pelagic Fishery was questioned. The workshop provides advice from some of the world’s best researchers on Australia’s approach.

The international experts concluded that the science used in Australia is world class and in many instances world leading, importantly the scientists also concluded that the fisheries management practices were precautionary by global standards.

To ensure Australia’s fisheries science remains at the world benchmark, the FRDC is looking to develop an Australian Standard for fisheries science. The Australian Standard would add to the consistency, transparency and validity of the science used in Australian fisheries management.

Dr Hone said, “he was confident that our fisheries science was in line with the world’s best practice, and that it was a priority for industry and Government and both would continue to invest in building the knowledge of our fisheries”.

23 July 2014

Media Contact: 
FRDC: Peter Horvat, Communications Manager – 02 6285 0414 or 0415 933 557