Project number: 2006-036
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $291,930.00
Principal Investigator: Alan Williams
Organisation: CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Hobart
Project start/end date: 14 Oct 2006 - 30 Jun 2009


The valuable offshore trawl (GABBTF) and non-trawl (GHATF) components of the SESSF fishery are expanding in the GAB, but there are no maps of this large area (~500 miles wide) at scales relevant to fishery use and management. Interpreted maps are needed to underpin sustainable development, particularly because they are relevant to developing area closures. These form a key part of AFMA’s strategic management planning for the fishery - including implementing the recommendations of recently completed Ecological Risk Assessments. The relevant scales when evaluating options for spatial management are: fishing grounds (areas with characteristic patterns of bottom types, fish communities and use), features (including submarine canyons and large rocky banks) and terrains - sediments, rocky bottom and broken bottom that make them up.

Maps alone will not usefully inform management decisions. There is also a need to interpret the structure and functions of their component parts, e.g. individual fishing grounds or certain habitat types. This enables stakeholders to understand their role for fishery production, their value to the fishery, and their natural values – including for threatened species and unique habitats. A wide range of data and knowledge can be collated from industry and scientific surveys. The proposed project will provide the mechanism needed to acquire, collate and map the information, then evaluate and summarise it for management purposes while preserving the confidential nature of industry data.

The project is based on a model used successfully in a previous study. The methodology – including data security measures - and infrastructure (spatial database, portable camera system) is largely in place. This project will build on lessons learned from the previous project (see Risk Analysis).


1. Acquire, collate and map information on the spatial extent and use of the GAB seabed habitats from multi-sector fishing industry and scientific sources.
2. Validate and complement industry information gathered for Objective 1 by ground-truth sampling with cameras from a chartered industry vessel.
3. Integrate information from Objectives 1 and 2 to generate interpreted seabed maps at scales relevant to management needs: fishing grounds, features, terrains and bottom types.
4. Quantify habitat vulnerability using the ERA methodology and upload a representative set of video and photographic images into the CSIRO seabed image database
5. Interpret and summarise this information to permit informed area management (spatial and temporal) of the GAB
6. Evaluate and summarise this information in relation the recommendations of the strategic assessment of the fishery and for stock assessments

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