Published: 25 March 2024 Updated: 26 March 2024
Back to News
DATE 26 Mar 2024
FEEDBACK/STORY SUGGESTIONS Dempsey Ward Communication Coordinator +61 2 6122 2134

FRDC recently convened a harvest strategy extension webinar, fostering collaboration to advance research in this important field. 

By Dempsey Ward

Harvest strategies play a vital role in ensuring the long-term sustainability of fish populations. These strategies seek to support fisheries management in a way that balances ecological, social, and economic outcomes for stakeholders.  FRDC invited fishery managers to dial-into the webinar to hear from leading researchers who are pioneering new harvest strategy processes.  

The webinar, hosted by Ian Cartwright of Thalassa Consulting, was attended by over 40 participants from a range of fields, including fishery managers, research providers, harvest strategy practitioners, and government agency representatives. Eight researchers showcased their latest work in three thematic areas: technical approaches, stakeholder-focused approaches, and policy guidelines for harvest strategy development.  

Ian noted the value of bringing management agencies and other stakeholders come together to discuss harvest strategy implementation and learn from each other.  

“The Commonwealth, states and the Northern Territory are all implementing fisheries harvest strategies using a variety of approaches”. 

“One of the key objectives of the workshop was to establish and extend ongoing relationships between managers and researchers, thereby making full use of research outcomes and experience to address these current and future harvest strategy challenges. 

“It was like a veritable speed dating of harvest strategy research,” said South Australian FRDC Extension Officer, Nathan Bicknell.  

A key component of the webinar was linking research outputs to the ongoing review of the National Harvest Strategy Policy, which is essential in shaping current and future fisheries management policies.  

Emphasis was placed on aligning harvest strategies with national and international obligations, as well as addressing challenges arising from multi-species, multi-gear, and multi-sector fisheries. Integrating recreational and Indigenous objectives and considerations around climate change were highlighted as crucial next steps.  

A key discussion revolved around clarifying the roles of harvest strategies within the broader management framework. It was noted that while management plans encompass various aspects of fishery management, they needed to include input/output controls and resource allocation. A comprehensive harvest strategy should also include a mechanism for controlling catches to meet biological, economic, and social objectives.  

The webinar also explored tactics to address data limitations in fisheries management including the development of methodologies for testing harvest strategies under various scenarios. Leveraging technology and new data sources were identified as potential avenues for improving fisheries management, particularly in data-limited scenarios. 

Looking ahead, participants emphasised the need for continued harvest strategy extension activities and research to address the evolving challenges in fisheries management. Suggestions for future research projects include investigating the impacts of competition and access to oceans, climate change and enhancing stakeholder capacity-building efforts. 

"This webinar underlined the complexity of harvest strategies and the importance of collaborating to understand the diverse requirements of all stakeholders so that data-driven decisions can be integrated into harvest strategy frameworks," Nathan stated. 

Nathan is hopeful that the webinar and final report will prove useful for the research team who are reviewing and updating the national harvest strategy guidelines (2021-135)

You can view the recording of the webinar here.  

This webinar was funded as part of FRDC Project 2019-082 (Extension and synthesis of key FRDC research areas).