Project number: 2018-091
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $85,000.00
Principal Investigator: Michelle R. Heupel
Organisation: Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS)
Project start/end date: 14 Jan 2019 - 29 Oct 2019


The Research Providers Network has identified a list of key commercial, recreational and TEP species in which movements and also residency may be key. The Integrated Marine Observing System Animal Tracking Facility (IMOS ATF) has been collecting data on a range of commercially and recreationally important fish species over the last decade. These data have not been analysed relevant to fishery management requirements at a national scale and there are potential coverage gaps which could provide data essential to management. Following a presentation by IMOS , the RPN agreed there was both an opportunity and a need to use these data to inform the national telemetry approach as well as provide updated, dynamic fish movement data to fishery managers. As marine environments continue to change, understanding the occurrence and movement of fish stocks will be crucial to effective and sustainable management.


1. Use existing national acoustic telemetry data to examine movement patterns and connectivity of priority species identified by the Fisheries Research Provider Network
2. Determine where the national array can be improved to produce data for use by regional and national fisheries managers
3. Provide a national-scale update on telemetry data for priority species and a proposal to improve the network to increase fisheries benefits of the national tracking scheme

Final report

ISBN: 978-0-646-80857-4
Authors: Michelle Heupel Robert Harcourt Fabrice Jaine David Smith
Final Report • 2019-10-24 • 6.58 MB


In this FRDC project, a team from Integrated Marine Observing System Animal Tracking Facility (IMOS ATF), in coordination with state and federal agencies and the Fisheries and Aquaculture Research Providers Network (RPN) met. They systematically reconfigured the IMOS ATF national network to improve the servicing of information needs for state and federal fisheries managers of Australia’s commercial and recreational fish species and for Threatened, Endangered and Protected species.
In 2018, the Fisheries and Aquaculture Research Providers Network (RPN) identified the need for sustained observing of marine species of national relevance and produced an agreed list of key marine species for which movement and residency data would improve current understanding of populations and stock structure. Accordingly, this project aimed to assess the utility of the IMOS ATF national dataset for informing spatial management of the commercially and recreationally important fish species, as well as threatened, endangered or protected species, identified by the RPN.
This project had three phases, a workshop to review the current state of the network and discuss potential analyses, a second stage where the proposed reconfiguration of the IMOS acoustic receiver array and analysis started at workshop one would be completed and matured, and a final workshop where state agencies would be consulted about implementing programs using the reconfigured network. In addition, analyses of existing data holdings were completed to determine national scales of movement of tracked individuals and examine connectivity of populations among receiver installations based on network analysis.
The revised IMOS ATF network is designed to cover areas of coast likely to be used by priority species identified by the RPN, including chokepoints previously not covered. The priority species are all subject to management by state and federal agencies and if these agencies undertake tagging of the relevant species, they should have significantly improved data upon which to base their decision making.

Related research


Tuna Champions v2.0: Bluefin and beyond

1. Deliver an education program and communication strategy focusing on responsible fishing practices within the recreational sector and educating grass-roots fishers on best practices around all aspects of their interactions with key tuna species in Australia.
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) Hobart