The eastern Australian salmon stock appears to have increased substantially in recent times and is believed to be under-utilized. Despite this, management of this species in NSW has been contentious, and is restricted by a lack of knowledge on biology and population dynamics. Specifically, managers require information that will assist their decision making concerning: (i) the status of the stock; (ii) potential expansion of the commercial fishery; (iii) impacts of resource allocation, and; (iv) ecosystem effects of salmon population expansion.
There is a lack of information on the sizes and ages of salmon being harvested and little knowledge of their biology. Research on age and growth in the 1970’s was based on scales, which have since been shown to be inaccurate (Egglestone 1975). Studies on reproduction have been limited to the timing of spawning in the southern regions. Results from this project will provide the necessary information on the composition of landings, age, growth, reproduction, movements and diet to enable informed management of the salmon resource. This project aims to address issues directly related to NSW management, however the baseline information will be valuable for management across the range of the stock.
The project outcomes of improved knowledge and management of salmon will directly address the FRDC R&D program “Natural Resources Sustainability” and the strategic challenge to “Improve the sustainability of natural resources supporting wild-catch and aquaculture”. At the state level, this project will satisfy three priority areas of research listed under the key document “Planning strategic research, aquaculture and aquatic conservation in New South Wales, 2004-2009.” These are: (i) to examine the predatory impacts of Australian salmon on other commercially important fish species; (ii) information on age and growth of recreationally important species, and; (iii) development of stock assessments for target species in the ocean hauling fishery.