Status of Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) reports 2018, and further development of the SAFS production and dissemination system

Project Number:



Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC)

Principal Investigator:

Carolyn L. Stewardson

Project Status:


FRDC Expenditure:





The current application is to produce the SAFS reports in 2018 and address strategic issues outlined above. In order to ensure the continuation of SAFS beyond 2020, it is essential for jurisdictions to develop ownership of the reports and to embed SAFS processes in core business, and for efficiencies in production and report management to continue to progress. As documented in the independent audit of SAFS 2016 (FRDC project 2016-143), the process of compiling SAFS on a co-operative basis between FRDC, Australian government agencies and all fisheries jurisdictions has led to greater joint collaboration, as well as transfers of methodologies and processes, to deliver higher quality and more credible stock status reporting which can be accessed nationally and internationally, as well as assisting in policy decisions regarding changes to particular fisheries management arrangements and in research priorities. Primary drivers for National reporting of the SAFS include: (i) the State of the Environment Report 2011, i.e., ‘lack of a nationally integrated approach inhibits effective marine management’; (ii) a recommendation of the House of Representatives Inquiry into the Role of Science for Fisheries and Aquaculture (Netting the Benefits Report 2012), i.e., ‘producing national status report regularly’; (iii) the Australian Fisheries Management Forum national statement of intent, i.e. a key outcome of ‘Goal 1’ is the National Status of Australian Fish Stocks Report; (iv) the National Fishing and Aquaculture Strategy 2015–20, i.e., ‘Goal 1’ of this strategy will be partially measured by an increased number of fisheries assessed as environmentally sustainable in the Status of Australian Fish Stocks Reports (this includes reducing the number of stocks assessed as uncertain); (v) the FRDC RD&E Plan 2015–20, i.e., key targets for deliverables against National Priority One include (i) “Increase the number of species to 200 in the national Status of Australian Fish Stocks Reports” and (ii) “Reduce the number of species classified as ‘undefined’ from the current figure of approximately 30 per cent to less than 10 per cent”.


1. Continue to develop a set of robust and consistent national stock status reports and a strong sense of report ownership by jurisdictions

2. To produce a fourth edition of the SAFS reports in 2018

3. Increase the number of species in SAFS to provide a comprehensive coverage of species of interest to stakeholder groups that will refer to the reports for information on sustainability and management success.

4. Reduction in the number (percentage) of species classified as 'undefined' where possible using data-poor assessment methodology