Report shows Australia’s fish stocks are sustainable

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The reports showed that 85% of species studied were sustainable, including all species of whiting.

THE 2018 Status of Australian Fish Stock (SAFS) Reports, released this week, assessed 120 species made up of 406 stocks across finfish, crustaceans, molluscs and sharks and rays. This report provides the most scientifically robust, up-to-date information on the sustainability of Australia’s fish stocks.

Overall, almost 80% of the 406 stocks (120 species) were able to be assessed. Of those (stocks assessed) almost 85% were sustainable or recovering.

The SAFS Reports have been compiled by over 100 of the country’s leading fisheries researchers, ensuring the focus remains on good science. The reports provide a high level of detail on where fish are caught today, as well as historical catch data. This allows consumers to easily find out if a species they are interested in is a sustainable purchase choice.

The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) facilitated the Reports. Dr Patrick Hone, FRDC’s Executive Director says the work provides a simple way for seafood consumers, fishers, managers, and the public to understand how Australia’s fish stocks are performing.

Reports results

Consumer and community confidence in Australia’s fish stocks should be buoyed with the 2018 release of the Status of Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) Reports which scrutinises their current status and performance.

Overall, most of the stocks are doing well. But the reports highlight that both managers and fishers alike cannot rest on their laurels and past performance. Fish stocks are constantly changing and require constant monitoring.

By the Numbers

  • 120 species (or species complexes) were assessed across Australia. Thirty-seven new species were added in the 2018 Reports.
  • All five prawn species were assessed as sustainable.
  • All five whiting species (Eastern School, King George, Sand, Stout and Yellowfin Whiting) were assessed as sustainable.
  • All four Rock Lobster species were assessed as sustainable (Eastern Rock Lobster, Ornate Rock Lobster, Southern Rock Lobster, Western Rock Lobster).
  • 406 status assessments were carried out on individual biological stocks; or management units or jurisdictions where biological stock structure was unknown, or where the number of stocks made assessment at the biological stock level impractical.
  • 254 stocks were classified as sustainable - representing nearly 85 per cent of the total assessed.
  • 18 stocks were classified as recovering
  • 23 stocks were classified as depleting
  • 54 stocks were classified as ‘undefined’. It is important to note all of these stocks have management in place; however there was insufficient data available to confidently classify the stocks.
  • 29 stocks were classified as overfished. Importantly all have recovery management plans in place that aim to rebuild the stocks.

According to the FRDC, Australia has a great record in fisheries management and the new reports provide a scientifically robust demonstration of this with respect to the wild-caught fish stocks that are the basis of our fisheries.

The FRDC says that Australians can be confident that locally-caught seafood is being sourced from fisheries that are being managed for sustainability.

The reports are available HERE

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