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Title:

Fisheries biology of Western Australian Salmon: improving our understanding of population dynamics in South Australia to enable quantitative stock assessments and improved fisheries management

Project Number:

2018-035

Organisation:

University of Adelaide

Principal Investigator:

Jason Earl

Project Status:

Current

FRDC Expenditure:

$246,454.00

Program(s):

Communities, Environment, Industry

Need

There is opportunity for the WA Salmon Fishery in SA to expand into emerging national and international seafood markets, and the possibility that the stock may be more heavily exploited in the future. Given the shared nature of the resource among commercial, recreational, Charter Boat and indigenous sectors, it is important that appropriate management is place to ensure that any expansion of the fishery does not compromise the overall sustainability of the resource. This includes ensuring the species remains one of the premier inshore sportfish for recreational anglers in SA. The current level of biological information that exists for WA Salmon is dated (Malcolm 1960; Cappo 1987) and largely focuses on the coastal component of the stock in SA. Contemporary information on the fine-scale population structure and fisheries biology of the WA Salmon stock in South Australian waters is needed to enable improved assessment of stock status and fisheries management and inform appropriate resource sharing among sectors. The current ‘sustainable’ status assigned to WA Salmon stock in SA is predominantly based on commercial catch and effort data integrated with limited information from the recreational and Charter Boat sector. Given the importance of WA Salmon to recreational fishers and the capacity for the commercial sector to increase production there is a need to develop a fishery-independent means of assessing the relative abundance to enhance future assessments of stock status and assess whether the current management arrangements for the commercial sector is appropriate. Given the multi-sectoral use of the resource and SA’s government commitment to maintaining quality recreational fishing opportunities; providing greater certainty for industry; and ensuring the continued supply of commercially harvested premium seafood, there is a need to develop a representative steering committee that is committed to achieving the objectives, outcomes, adoption and extension of this project.

Objectives

1. Describe fine-scale population structure and fisheries biology of the Western Australian Salmon in South Australia, including inshore and offshore components of the stock.

2. Assess the feasibility of using innovative remote sensing techniques (aerial surveys) to determine relative abundance of WA Salmon.