Stock enhancement and restocking of marine species is an ever-evolving field given the development of new technology and pressures put on species by factors such as fishing, environment and disease. In Australia there have been several large-scale experimental abalone projects conducted, primarily in NSW and WA, with promising results and conclusions. However, these research projects have cost just over $1.7 million and none of the outcomes have translated into commercial-scale abalone stock enhancement, restocking or translocation. Even so, there is still considerable and continuing interest in stocking where stocks are so depleted as to render recovery without intervention impossible. The question is therefore, why do very few ideas/proposals progress to R&D projects and none have progressed to commercialisation?
This project will review abalone stocking in Australia and jurisdictions current strategic direction and management policies. Through this, potential roadblocks to the commercialisation of abalone stocking in Australia, such as government policy, scientific research, aquaculture practices, genetics and biosecurity/disease will be investigated. At present there is no formal abalone stocking programmes being conducted in Australia, even with the stock declines present in numerous fisheries. However, several major projects have been proposed and the interest in stocking as a fisheries management tool has remained high with substantial investments made. A national approach to abalone stocking will allow regulatory bodies to decide on appropriate stocking programmes and for industry to have confidence in the benefits for the fishery.