There are two basic needs for the ling fishery that are addressed by this proposal:
1) It is important to determine whether pink ling from WA, the GAB, the SEF Eastern sector, and the SEF Western sector represent separate stocks, with the implied need for a separate management plan for each, or are simply components of a single large stock best managed as a single entity. Industry has noted the potential for development of the fishery in the west. It is particularly important to establish whether or not the developing western fishery is distinct from the more fully exploited eastern fishery. Stock delineation work needs to be carried out before reliable biomass and yield estimates of stocks can be derived, and before new management plans are put into operation.
2) It is necessary to know for certain whether the orange form is the juvenile pink ling or whether it is a distinct species. This is necessary to integrate non-trawl components of the fishery with the trawl component. If the orange form is the juvenile of the pink form, then it will be important to manage gear types, such as set-netting, that most affect the smaller orange ling. The lack of such protection may otherwise impact on recruitment to the deepwater part of the fishery, which represents almost all of the economic value of ling. Whilst preliminary allozyme analysis indicates that the two colour forms of ling are the same species, there is a need to confirm this using more powerful genetic techniques.