Australian Fish Stocks Report Card Released

Consumers of Australian seafood can have renewed confidence in the sustainability of buying fish from Australian stocks this Christmas with the release of the latest edition of Status of Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) reports from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.

In total the reports look at 83 of the most important species and species complexes, representing approximately 90 per cent of both volume and value of Australia’s total fisheries production.

Dr Patrick Hone, Executive Director for the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation said, the reports provided a simple way seafood consumers, fishers, managers, and the public to understand how Australia’s fish stocks are performing.

These Report delve the depths of each species looking at the local level. In total 294 individual stocks were assessed.

The Reports include fifteen new species some very iconic such as the Western Australian Dhufish, others like Orange Roughy have endured a chequered past but are showing signs of recovery in some areas.

Prawn lovers should celebrate with prawn stocks scoring the highest across the board ratings. Not surprisingly, given they also have the highest number of Marine Stewardship Council certified fisheries.

Almost one hundred of Australia’s fisheries scientists were responsible for producing the eighty three species reports. In addition, a further fifty fisheries scientists anonymously reviewed the reports to ensure they were as accurate as possible.

The Reports are available online in a new website www.fish.gov.au. The website provides easy access for everyone to dive into this wealth of information.

The reports also highlight that fish stocks are dynamic and require constant monitoring. 

Assessments by the numbers – see Table 1 (below)

  • 83 species (or species complexes) were assessed across Australia.
  • 294 individual status assessments were carried for the 83 species.
      • 174 stocks were classified as sustainable - representing 84.93 per cent of the total.
      • 9 stocks are classified as transitional–recovering
      • 26 stocks are classified as transitional–depleting and
      • 5 stocks were deemed environmentally limited.
      • 17 stocks were classified as overfished. Importantly all have recovery management plans in place that aim to rebuild the stocks.
      • 49 stocks were classified as ‘undefined’. It is important to note all of these stocks have management in place; however there were insufficient data available to confidently classify the stocks. 
Table 1: Stock status classification summary of the stocks in the Status of Australian fish stocks reports 2016, and the proportion of the catch of all species considered in the reports
     

Stock status

Number of stocks

Total

Catch

% of total

 

Biological stock

Management unit

Jurisdiction

stocks

('000 t)

catch of species

Sustainable stock

85

56

34

175

112.28

85.73

Transitional-depleting

7

15

4

26

3.91

2.99

Transitional-recovering

5

4

9

1.29

0.98

Overfished

7

7

3

17

7.54

5.76

Environmentally limited

4

1

5

0.03

0.02

Undefined

12

17

20

49

5.91

4.51

Negligible

2

2

9

13

0.01

0.01

Total

118

105

71

294

130.97

100

 

a The total does not include international catches (that is, catch taken outside Australian waters by countries other than Australia) of the four tuna and billfish species.  

Fishing is a core part of the Australian culture, provides thousands of local jobs and supplies high quality, sustainably harvested seafood to local and international markets.

Australians can be confident that locally-caught seafood is being sourced from fisheries that are being managed for sustainability.

The reports are available at www.fish.gov.au

 
Media Contact: 
FRDC: Peter Horvat, Manager Communications, Trade and Marketing
– peter.horvat@frdc.com.au; 02 6285 0414 or 0415 933 557