Australia’s fish stocks in great shape

5th March 2013

In December 2012 the Australian Government released the first ever national snapshot on the status of all major Australian commercial fish stocks. The report found that Australian fisheries are healthy and well managed. Only a tiny fraction of the 150 stocks reviewed were found to be “overfished”.
The report was compiled by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) and took 80 scientists 18 months to compile before being peer reviewed. The 150 stocks reviewed cover 70% by volume and 80% by value of the Australian commercial fishing industry regardless of whether they are managed by a State or the Commonwealth Government. The full report is available here.
98 stocks are classed as “sustainable”, 11 “transitioning”, 39 generally smaller stocks had insufficient catch and therefore insufficient data to have them assessed and only two stocks were found to be “overfished”.
Mr Tom Bibby, the South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association’s (SETFIA) Chair said, “This is a report for all Australians, for consumers, for sellers, for fishermen and for researchers. It is the first ever broad and independent review of the status of Australian and probably global commercial fish stocks. We are overjoyed that it has found that Australian fish stocks are in such good shape.”
The two species found to be overfished are school shark and southern bluefin tuna. Both species are already subject to strict management controls and are rebuilding. The South East Trawl fishery does not catch southern bluefin tuna and school shark is managed as part of another fishery.
Mr Bibby concluded by stating that, “This report confirms what the fishing industry has known for a long time. That is that Australia’s fisheries are well managed and there will be fish for generations to come. To make a sustainable choice all consumers need to do is to buy Australian.”