Competitive Round Call for Expressions of Interest now open. Closes 27 September 2019



ESD risk assessment for under-utilised species to facilitate structural reform of South Australia's commercial Marine Scalefish Fishery

Project Number:



SARDI Food Safety and Innovation

Principal Investigator:

Anthony J. Fowler

Project Status:


FRDC Expenditure:



Communities, Environment, Industry


South Australia’s Marine Scalefish Fishery (MSF) is faced with numerous issues that make its management difficult and challenging, causing considerable uncertainty for commercial fishers about the future of their industry. One issue relates to the numerous poor stock status classifications that have recently been assigned to stocks of the three primary species of King George Whiting, Snapper and Southern Garfish. These reflect long-term targeting that has finally impacted on the levels of stock biomass. It is now generally recognised that the MSF must undergo significant structural reform to redress this and other issues. The Marine Scalefish Strategic Review Committee has proposed a broad plan for overall structural reform by 2022. Such reform would provide opportunity to diversify the fishery in terms of target species, in order to: re-direct fishing effort away from the compromised stocks of the primary species to facilitate their recoveries; and to increase overall MSF productivity and profitability. There is a need to identify: legitimate MSF species that are currently under-utilised; as well as species that are not yet recognised as legitimate but nevertheless may be potential commercial fishery species. Any consideration of increasing fishery production for such species must conform to the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD). There is a need to formally consider the potential barriers to enhancing production of these species from the perspectives of the environment, economics and governance. This will be addressed using an established risk assessment framework that is based on the National ESD Reporting Framework.


1. To assess the potential to diversify South Australia’s Marine Scalefish Fishery by increasing production of currently under-utilised species, whilst conforming to the principles of ecologically sustainable development

2. To provide advice about the potential to increase fishery catch for individual species in the commercial MSF fishery, and to provide guidance in each case with respect to the need for further research, economic development and regulatory reform