In 1997 1,000t will be allocated amongst the South East Trawl fishery, individual allocations will vary from over 100t down to 100s of kg. These allocations will allow some targeted fishing for gemfish but operators will also have to manage their individual allocations to cover their anticipated bycatch of gemfish as they fill quotas for other species. This management of bycatch will bias reported commercial catch rates in 1997 preventing comparison with historic trends and the updating of the stock assessment developed by EGAG during 1996.
Consequently EGAG considered that another Industry Survey in 1997 is needed for two principal reasons:
1. To provide catch rate data which is representative of targeted gemfish fishing.
2. To ensure timely provision of high quality data for stock assessment during September and October 1997.
However having decided on the need for the 1997 survey EGAG considered that two other lesser needs could be addressed for little additional expense. These are:
A. to understand targeting patterns in the SEF and their impact on stock assessment and
B. the influence of oceanographic factors on the South East Fishery.