Project number: 2011-039
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $655,000.00
Principal Investigator: Gretta T. Pecl
Organisation: University of Tasmania (UTAS)
Project start/end date: 14 Jan 2012 - 31 Aug 2013


A project to inform fisheries adaptation to climate change is needed in the South East region because:
1) it is an international ‘hotspot’ for marine climate change, which is currently displaying signs of perturbation and where further shifts, shrinkages and expansions of ecosystems and species distributions are expected;
2) it produces >50% of Australia’s seafood and is home to 60% of the Australian population;
3) a formal risk assessment identified fisheries species at highest risk from climate changes are also those with highest economic importance to the region;
4) its fisheries are managed by five separate jurisdictions whose adaption responses will need to be well coordinated if negative impacts are to be reduced effectively and opportunities that arise are to be seized.


1. Identify likely key effects of climate change on four major fisheries species in SE Australia (rock lobster, abalone, snapper and blue grenadier), particularly where these effects may impact the harvest strategies for these species.
2. Identify options for improving assessment and management frameworks (e.g. fisheries models, performance measures, decision rules, and harvest strategies) to ensure that they perform effectively under likely climate change scenarios (e.g. account for assumptions of temporal stability in temperature-influenced parameters such growth and recruitment).
3. Evaluate options for adjusting management arrangements to reduce negative impacts and maximise uptake of opportunities that climate change may provide to commercial and recreational fisheries (including improvements in coordination and consistency among jurisdictions).
4. Identify improvements to current monitoring systems for rock lobster, abalone and snapper and their habitats to ensure that they are suitable for measuring the likely impacts of climate change and other drivers.

Final report

Final Report • 6.39 MB


Over the next century, the marine ecosystems of south-eastern Australia are expected to exhibit some of the largest climate-driven changes in the Southern Hemisphere. The effects of these changes on communities and businesses will depend, in part, on how well fishing industries and resource managers adapt to these challenges. 
This project was developed using the results of a formal assessment of the relative risk to climate change impacts on key fisheries species of south east Australia. Species selected as case studies in this project were identified as being at high (rock lobster, abalone, blue grenadier) or medium (snapper) risk to climate change impacts and having high commercial value and/or recreational importance. The case study species were also identified as being likely to provide useful insights into how fisheries can adapt to changes in productivity (rock lobster) and/or distribution (snapper). Two species (rock lobster and abalone) are considered potential ecological indicators for rocky reefs, whereas snapper is an important component of coastal fish assemblages and blue grenadier occurs further offshore. The goal of the project was to identify adaptation options to enhance the profitability of commercial fisheries and maximise opportunities for participation in recreational fishing.

Related research


Snapper Science Program: Theme 1 - Biology and Ecology

1. Quantify the abundance of age 0+ Snapper in northern Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent to provide relative estimates of recruitment for 2024, 2025, and 2026. Examine the otoliths of these fish to improve the understanding of early life history processes.
Flinders University