Sustainable fishing means keeping fishing activity to a level that allows it to continue indefinitely, maintaining the integrity of ecosystems where fishing occurs, and using non-destructive, wild-capture fishing techniques.
Australia rates highly on an international scale in terms of sustainable fishing practices. A recent study (2013) by the Fisheries Research Centre at the University of British Columbia ranked Australian fisheries management second of 53 countries for sustainability. Australia was also the first country in the world to receive the independent certification of one of its fisheries by the independent not-for-profit Marine Stewardship Council.
This stamp issue presents three species of fish that are classified as “sustainable” in Australia, either by the Marine Stewardship Council and/or the national Status of Australian Fish Stocks reports.
Learn more about sustainable fishing practices and the work of the Marine Stewardship Council in our blog article.
Stamp illustration is by Dr Lindsay Marshall, a natural history artist and a shark scientist. As well as an illustration of each fish species, in the background is a simplified graphic of a technique deployed in commercial fisheries to minimise environmental impacts.
$1 Blue Grenadier
Also known as “hoki”, Blue Grenadier (Macruronus novaezelandiae) is a bottom-dwelling deep-water fish found in temperate marine waters of New Zealand and Australia (in the waters off southern Australia, from New South Wales to Western Australia, including around the coast of Tasmania). The Blue Grenadier can reach a size of around 110 centimetres in length and six kilograms in weight. It has a long, slender silvery-blue body.
Commercial Blue Grenadier fisheries are located in south-east and southern Australia and off the west coast of Tasmania. The fishing method used in these fisheries is mostly midwater trawl (but also some bottom trawl). The use of excluder devices to minimise by-catch of seals has been very successful. Seal Excluder Devices (SEDs) are designed to help seals swim out of a fishing net if they are accidentally caught.
$1 Tiger Flathead
Tiger Flathead (Platycephalus richardsoni) is a greyish-brown flathead with many small orange to reddish-orange spots, and often several large greyish blotches along the mid-sides. The fins are spotted, too. It has a large flattened head with low ridges. Tiger Flathead is endemic to Australia and distributed from northern New South Wales to western Victoria, including Tasmanian waters.
Commercial Tiger Flathead fisheries are located in south-eastern Australia and the Great Australian Bight. Gear has been designed to avoid bycatch (of smaller or non-target species). This is achieved through the use of specific mesh sizes in various parts of the bottom-trawl fishing net, which allow the non-target fish to escape.
$1 Patagonian Toothfish
The Patagonian Toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) is a large and slender deep-water species. It can grow to up to around two metres in length and 200 kilograms in weight. (Females grow larger than males.) Patagonian Toothfish are so named for the sharp teeth on their upper jaw and the fact that they were first fished in waters off Patagonia, Chile.
Commercial Australian Patagonian Toothfish fisheries are found in the Southern Ocean and the Ross Sea. A move to weighted longline fishing (the aim of which is to sink the baits out of bird-access depth as fast as possible), combined with devices that keep birds away from fishing lines, are examples of practices that have reduced seabird interactions to minimal levels.