Southern Bluefin Tuna: Changing The Trajectory

Project Number:



Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA)

Principal Investigator:

Matt Daniel

Project Status:


FRDC Expenditure:



Communities, Industry


The story of how SBT became overfished is not unique among bluefin tuna species worldwide. What does set the species apart from the rest is the recovery that has been evident in recent years. It is becoming increasing evident however that the positive outcomes for SBT are getting lost in the negative sentiment that surrounds other bluefin tunas. This negative sentiment has potential to impact both domestic and global markets as consumers actively avoid all bluefin species due to a lack of clarity surrounding each species. The proposed documentary will seek to distinguish between the different species and provide consumers with enough information to make a more informed choice when they purchase seafood. As Australia progresses towards accounting for all sources of mortality within its national allocation of SBT by the 2018 fishing season as required by the CCSBT. The focus will be on resource sharing and the role recreational fishers will increasingly play in being one of the stewards of the resource. The documentary will explore best practice techniques for catch and release and educate fishers on the importance of fishing for the future and taking only what they need. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) in conjunction with Dr Tracey are also planning an education campaign to inform recreational fishers and the general public about how best to use the resource sustainably. This documentary will help to ‘set the scene’ on why the education campaign is needed. Finally, quantitative and qualitative research into community attitudes towards Australian fisheries management found that that the Australian public does not have a great deal of knowledge and understanding of either the fisheries market or fisheries issues. While most assume that no news is good news, as has been seen, with a lack of information and awareness about the management of the fishery, this void can be filled by mis-information led by other stakeholders who may profit from this approach. Using a prominent and influential fishing identity will help increase awareness not only of the science-based management of SBT, but fisheries management more broadly.


1. To inform the recreational fishing sector and general public of the history and current status of SBT, including the role of science

2. To demonstrate practices and techniques that can be used by the recreational fishing sector to support the continued recovery of SBT

3. To use a successful and influential recreational fishing media identity to produce a documentary regarding 1 & 2 above

4. To distribute and promote the documentary across key media channels including mainstream TV, social media (Facebook, YouTube etc), print and radio

5. To use the documentary as a public introduction to other extension and education elements regarding SBT and recreational that will follow in related projects.

Life On The Line - The amazing story of the Southern Bluefin Tuna (documentary)

Author(s):Al McGlashan
Date Published:

Life on the Line is the true story of the Southern Bluefin Tuna, its biological traits and its history of exploitation and most recently its recovery. This documentary covers how research, managers and the fishing industry - commercial and recreational have contributed to the recovering status of this species. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjdb1AVUnVI