Project number: 2002-072
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $87,033.00
Principal Investigator: Ian Knuckey
Organisation: Fishwell Consulting Pty Ltd
Project start/end date: 1 Dec 2002 - 30 Aug 2006


This proposal is part of a strategy co-ordinated by SEFAG and SEF Research Committee aimed at addressing the need for fishery independent survey data.

In order to address this broader need, SEFAG and SEFMAC Research Committee have identified two more immediate needs.

1. The need to build industry support for this initiative is paramount. As identified by SEF Research Committee, SEF industry members have little faith in the use of commercial catch rates as an index of abundance because they are substantially influenced by quota availability, market demands and environmental conditions. The concern that they express is that short term variability due to these factors will be interpreted and acted upon by managers as a change in actual abundance. In other countries where long-term industry-based surveys have been conducted, however, the fishery independent indices have made it possible to remove the influences of quota and market demand and quantify the impact of environmental variability on catch rates. This has made it possible, over time, to standardise survey catch rates for the impact of environmental effects. Exposing members of the SEF community to this international experience should go some way to addressing these concerns and building support.

2. If it is to succeed, there is a need to develop a cost-effective and statistically robust design for a long-term program of industry-based surveys. To build support and move towards implementation it is necessary to develop a survey design. Obviously any survey design needs to be cost-effective and capable of providing statistically robust indices of abundance. With an a agreed survey design members of the SEF community can start considering a concrete proposal for implementation and assessing the costs and benefits of proceeding with implementation.


1. Conduct a power analysis of the shot-by-shot data collected by the ISMP project so that an initial assessment can be made of the sampling intensity that will be required to develop robust indices of relative abundance on the basis of trawl surveys.
2. Design and hold a workshop involving industry, scientists, managers and invited experts with experience with industry-based surveys in multi-species, shelf edge and slope fisheries like the SEF.
3. Develop industry support for implementing industry-based surveys.

Final report

ISBN: 978-0-9756006-2-7
Author: Ian Knuckey

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