Commonwealth fish stocks continue to improve
The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has released the 17th edition of Fishery Status Report (2011). This annual report is similar to the ground breaking national snapshot report released in December but the latest Fishery Status Report covers all fish species managed by the Commonwealth Government (not those managed by the States and not just the economically important species).
The latest report found that the number of Commonwealth stocks fished at a sustainable level has increased from 71 to 77. The number of stocks subject to over-fishing has decreased from eight to six. The number of stocks whose status is uncertain has also decreased from 17 to 12.
These findings are consistent with the national snapshot of both Commonwealth and State managed species which also reflected very positively on Australian fisheries.
The situation in South East Trawl Fishery has improved from an already strong position. Previously four of the 28 species in the South East were assessed were classed as being subject to over-fishing but this has reduced to two with only eastern gemfish and gulper sharks remaining in the “red”. Gulper shark catch is now almost nil with 30-40% of gulper habitat closed to trawling. Eastern gemfish by-catch was the lowest ever in 2011/12 due to active avoidance brought about by a code of practice and training courses for fishermen which raised awareness of the need to avoid the specie and let it rebuild.