Developing triple bottom line harvest strategies that include all environmental aspects for multi-sector fisheries

Project Number:



CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Hobart

Principal Investigator:

Natalie Dowling

Project Status:


FRDC Expenditure:



Environment, Industry


The triple-bottom-line (TBL) of environmental/ecological, economic and social management objectives is important for stock sustainability, supporting environment health, resource access, certainty, export approvals and public confidence. However, it has yet to be operationalised within a harvest strategy context. A harvest strategy (HS) framework specifies pre-determined management actions in a fishery to achieve management objectives via monitoring, assessment and decision rules. As opposed to a broader management strategy or procedure, HSs focus on controlling exploitation rates for relevant species. To address the TBL requires a) understanding the impact of environmental (bycatch, habitat, broader), economic and social aspects on a fishery, b) elicitation of objectives and an understanding of the trade-offs between these, d) assessment methods that may be applied within a HS. The National HS Guidelines (FRDC 2010/061) state the importance of establishing operational TBL objectives. The National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development stipulates that these objectives must be considered simultaneously, with none predominating. Queensland fishery management in the Great Barrier Reef Region aims to simultaneously achieve the objectives of the Fisheries Act (Qld) and the GBRMP Act (that permits ecologically sustainable use provided it is consistent with the main object of long-term environmental protection). Thus, addressing the TBL in a HS context is paramount for Queensland GBR fisheries. The National HS Guidelines recommended the development of case studies to test their practical application, with priority assigned to multi-sector (e.g. commercial and recreational) fisheries that are directly confronted with TBL objectives (noting their mixed data quality and quantity). FRDC 2010/040 developed and tested social objectives for fisheries management but emphasised the outstanding need to integrate social objectives/indicators within HS frameworks. Queensland multi-sector GBR fisheries provide an ideal starting point to develop and recommend TBL HSs, and one that is timely given the current review of Queensland fisheries management.


1. To undertake a review of (existing work around) multi-objective management systems and associated assessment approaches (Phase 1)

2. To compile an inventory (incorporating existing work, and particularly that of 2013/204) of current environmental, economic and social objectives and consider how to translate such conceptual management objectives to operational objectives for multi-sector fisheries. (Phase 1)

3. To develop a theoretical framework (incorporating existing) methods and approaches with which to evaluate trade-offs between, and/or priorities for, environmental, economic and social objectives (Phase 1)

4. KEY OBJECTIVE: to develop a general Methodology for harvest strategy development against the triple-bottom-line for multi-sector fisheries (Phase 1)

5. To finalise the choice of Queensland state-based multi-sector case study fishery (Phase 1)

6. KEY OBJECTIVE: to develop and recommend (but NOT to formally implement and/or operationalize) a triple bottom line harvest strategy framework for a Queensland multi-sector case study fishery (Phase 2)