Australian Status Reports Show Stocks Sustainable

Key facts 

  • Majority of Australia’s assessed fish stocks are sustainable. 
  • Largest assessment of fish stocks ever undertaken in Australia. 
  • 120 species and 406 stocks assessed.  
  • Southern Bluefin Tuna now rated as recovering.  
  • Pacific stock of Bigeye Tuna goes from depleted to sustainable.

Consumers now have access to the latest and the most comprehensive report on the sustainability of Australia’s fish stocks.  

The 2018 Status of Australian Fish Stock (SAFS) Reports, assessed 120 species made up of 406 stocks across finfish, crustaceans, molluscs and sharks and rays. 

The 2018 SAFS Reports provide the most scientifically robust, up-to-date information on the sustainability of Australia’s fish stocks. 

Overall, almost 80% of the 406 stocks (120 species) were able to be assessed.  Of those (stocks assessed) almost 85% were sustainable or recovering.  

The SAFS Reports are available both in full at fish.gov.au and through a new smartphone App – SAFS Sustainable Fish Stocks (accessible both on Apple’s App Store and Google Play). 

The SAFS Reports have been compiled by over one hundred of the country’s leading fisheries researchers from across, ensuring the focus remains on good science.  

They provide a high level of detail on where fish are caught today, as well as historical catch data.  This allows consumers to easily find out if a species they are interested in is a sustainable purchase choice. 

The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) facilitated the Reports. Dr Patrick Hone, FRDC’s Executive Director says the work provides a simple way for seafood consumers, fishers, managers, and the public to understand how Australia’s fish stocks are performing. 

The 2018 edition of the Status of Australian Fish Stocks Reports was launched today at the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) Outlook Conference.  

Reports results 

Consumer and community confidence in Australia’s fish stocks should be buoyed with the 2018 release of the Status of Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) Reports which scrutinises their current status and performance.  

Overall, most of the stocks are doing well. But the reports highlight that both managers and fishers alike cannot rest on their laurels and past performance. Fish stocks are constantly changing and require constant monitoring.  

By the Numbers 

·       120 species (or species complexes) were assessed across Australia. Thirty-seven new species were added in the 2018 Reports. 

·       All five prawn species were assessed as sustainable. 

·       All five whiting species (Eastern School, King George, Sand, Stout and Yellowfin Whiting) were assessed as sustainable.  

·       All four Rock Lobster species were assessed as sustainable (Eastern Rock Lobster, Ornate Rock Lobster, Southern Rock Lobster, Western Rock Lobster).  

·       406 status assessments were carried out on individual biological stocks; or management units or jurisdictions where biological stock structure was unknown, or where the number of stocks made assessment at the biological stock level impractical. 

-   254 stocks were classified as sustainable - representing nearly 85 per cent of the total assessed.  

-   18 stocks were classified as recovering 

-   23 stocks were classified as depleting and  

-   54 stocks were classified as ‘undefined’. It is important to note all of these stocks have management in place; however there was insufficient data available to confidently classify the stocks.

-   29 stocks were classified as overfished. Importantly all have recovery management plans in place that aim to rebuild the stocks.

Australia has a great record in fisheries management and the new reports provide a scientifically robust demonstration of this with respect to the wild-caught fish stocks that are the basis of our fisheries. 

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 and through a new smartphone app SAFS – Sustainable fish stocks available through both the app store and Google Play.

Contact –

Peter Horvat
Manager of Communications, Trade and Marketing
Fisheries Research and Development Corporation
 
D +61 2 6285 0414
M +61 415 933 557
E peter.horvat@frdc.com.au