Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks Reports 2012
Department of Agriculture
There is a need for a consolidated national report on the status of key wild catch Australian fish stocks, focusing on commercial and recreational target species. One pitfall of guides like the Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide is their focus on entire species, without considering differences among stocks within each species. Consequently, a poor status determination for one stock can result in a poor status determination for all stocks of that species regardless of whether or not the other stocks are healthy. Government can avoid this pitfall by clearly articulating the status of individual fish stocks. Australia’s different jurisdictions have demonstrated their capacity to work constructively together to achieve common goals (e.g. joint stock assessments for shared stocks). However, the current differences in scope, depth, terminology and benchmarking in jurisdictionally based Fishery Status Reports make it difficult to readily compare the status of stocks across jurisdictions and build a coherent national status of key species. The National Fishery Status Reports would not be promoted as an eco-labelling guide but rather as a government produced instrument designed to simplify comparison of the status of key wild capture fish stocks around Australia both within and among jurisdictions. This information would be available for the general public, policy makers and industry to make informed decisions in relation to the actual health of various stocks. The reports would also provide an important and accurate information source for international organisations (e.g. FAO). The process of producing these reports will improve communication between the jurisdictions, leading to a better understanding of the status determinations made by each jurisdiction and how these compare. One of the main outcomes already achieved from the recent jurisdictional planning workshops is the convergence on a common system of benchmarking and terminology for use across jurisdictions.
1. To produce the first National Fishery Status Reports.
Traditionally, fishery status reporting has been undertaken separately within each Australian jurisdiction for commercial wild-capture fisheries. The jurisdictional reports use differing terminology and reference points to classify fish stocks. The agreed national reporting framework for the Status of key Australian fish stocks reports improves consistency in reporting across jurisdictions and also allows for shared stocks (those that span the waters of more than one jurisdiction) to be assessed as single biological stocks. This recognises the biological boundaries of fish stocks rather than manmade boundaries of management units or jurisdictions.