Project number: 2011-032
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $666,973.00
Principal Investigator: Geoff Tuck
Organisation: CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Hobart
Project start/end date: 16 Mar 2012 - 17 Jan 2015


With the creation of large marine spatial closures, such as the system of fisheries related closures and MPAs that have been implemented in the South East, complications to the current established framework for fisheries management and risk assessment are introduced.

Management advice for targeted commercial fish stocks is generally based on the results of quantitative or semi-quantitative stock assessment methods. These assessments usually treat the impacted species as unit entities where the complete stock is vulnerable to the fishery, and this is generally acceptable for most species, as the majority of the stock is available to the fishery. Explicit representation of spatial structure is the exception in most target species stock assessments. For non-target species, assessed within an Ecological Risk Assessment framework, an examination of catches in comparison to life-history characteristics, or the species susceptibility and productivity can also give an indication of likely impact. While the spatial overlap of the stock with the fishery is considered in some ERA methods (eg PSA, SAFE), implications for management are not explicit.

Marine spatial closures complicate assessments by changing the relative abundance within and outside closures. They may also alter the location where sampling occurs. In addition to changes to assessments, a key question is how the rules that determine catch levels, including formal harvest strategies, should be modified to account for closures, taking into consideration the characteristics of the closure, the species’ biology and varying levels of monitoring. This project will consider these impacts for all forms of marine closed areas.


1. Develop criteria and procedures for determining whether current methods for incorporating the effects of marine spatial closures in risk assessments and stock assessments are appropriate for all species
2. Develop a method for incorporating the effects of marine spatial closures in risk assessments and stock assessments for those species where the current approach is not considered effective
3. Develop a set of rules for determining TACs or catch limits based on the quantity and quality of data available on the species biology, the characteristics of the closure, and the extent of monitoring inside and outside of the closure.

Final report

ISBN: 978-1-4863-0933-7
Author: Geoff Tuck
Final Report • 2018-05-01 • 9.31 MB


Within the framework of the Commonwealth Harvest Strategy Policy, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has adopted clear decision rules to set catch limits for commercially targeted species in Commonwealth fisheries. In several fisheries, AFMA has adopted a tiered harvest strategy framework that specifies both assessment methods and decision rules appropriate to the extent and quality of information available for each target species. For by-product and bycatch species, AFMA has adopted a risk-based and hierarchical Ecological Risk Assessment and Ecological Risk Management (ERA/ERM) framework that identifies higher risk species and prioritizes management responses. With the increase in number and extent of marine spatial closures, whether for conservation or fishery management purposes, there is a need to evaluate the impact of closures on existing assessment methods and rules and, if necessary, modify these methods and rules, or provide new methods that appropriately account for the existence of closures. This project will evaluate and develop assessment methods and a complementary set of meta-rules that can be integrated into the current assessment and management frameworks.

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