australian fish stocks

Australian fish stocks report card released

CONSUMERS of Australian seafood can have renewed confidence in the sustainability of buying fish from Australian stocks with the release of the latest edition of the ‘Status of Australian Fish Stocks’ reports from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.

In total, the reports look at 83 of the most important species and species complexes, representing about 90 percent of both volume and value of Australia’s total fisheries production. FRDC executive director Dr Patrick Hone said the reports provided a simple way for seafood consumers, fishers, managers and the public to understand how Australia’s fish stocks are performing.

These reports delve into the depths of each species, looking at the local level. In total, 294 individual fish stocks were assessed. The reports include 15 new species, some very iconic, such as the Western Australian dhufish, while others like the 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 100 of Australia’s fisheries scientists were responsible for producing the 83 species reports.

In addition, a further 50 fisheries scientists anonymously reviewed the reports to ensure they were as accurate as possible. The reports are available online at a new website: fish.gov.au This 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

  • 83 species (or species complexes) were assessed across Australia.
  • 294 individual status assessments were carried out for the 83 species.
  • 174 stocks were classified as sustainable – representing 84.93 percent of the total.
  • Nine stocks were classified as transitional – recovering.
  • 26 stocks were classified as transitional – depleting.
  • Five 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 these stocks have management in place, however there was insufficient data available to confidently classify the stocks.

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