Reducing the Number of Undefined Species in Future Status of Australian Fish Stocks Reports: Phase Two - training in the assessment of data-poor stocks
CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Hobart
The Status of Australian Fish Stocks project is increasing the number of species/stocks to be included but many of these new stocks may fall into the "undefined" category and, because they suggest a lack of assessment and management, they lower the overall impression of the state of fisheries management within Australia. The FRDC National Priority 1 has two targets relating to the "undefined" category. By 2020, the target is to increase the number of species covered in SAFS to 200, and at the same time, to reduce the percentage of stocks classified as undefined to less than 10%. Most major commercial species by value are already included in SAFS, so increasing that number to 200 will mean including many data-poor fisheries making achieving both targets by 2020 difficult. An earlier project (2016-135) disarticulated the undefined category into sub-groups at least one of which should be amenable to data-poor assessment techniques. There is thus a need, within each jurisdiction, to identify which of the new species selected for inclusion in SAFS are likely to be classed as undefined and yet still amenable to a data-poor assessment method. There have been many recent developments with data-poor stock assessment methods and there is thus also a need in all jurisdictions for staff training to develop more local expertise in these new methods and to transfer suitable custom software for conducting such analyses. With the agreement of all parties involved there is a need to then apply and document the particular assessment method used that permits a status determination for each species selected, thereby reducing the number of undefined species.
1. Of the species proposed for inclusion in the 2018 and 2020 SAFS reports, identify those which may be deemed 'undefined' in each jurisdiction and yet potentially amenable to a data-poor stock assessment.
2. In each jurisdiction with potentially ‘undefined’ species, arrange a training workshop for local staff using the candidate species from objective 1 to act as case studies for the application of suitable data-poor stock assessment methods.
3. Include the 15 potentially assessable species from SAFS 2016, as identified in Phase one of this project (FRDC Project 2016-135).
4. Ensure that at least the local scientists involved with SAFS assessments understand how to use the illustrated data-poor assessment methods to develop a defensible stock status report and, if required, associated management advice.