No overfishing in government-managed fisheries, latest ABARES report reveals

Tiger prawn (Photo: Australian Fisheries Management Authority)

A new report from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has delivered generally positive news, with no stocks classified as subject to overfishing in fisheries solely managed by the Australian Government.

The ABARES fishery status reports provide an annual, independent assessment of the performance of these fisheries.
ABARES Executive Director Dr Steve Hatfield-Dodds said the latest fishery status reports 2020 indicated Commonwealth fisheries continue to be well-managed, and subject to a range of management and monitoring measures to ensure their sustainability.

“Of the 96 fish stocks assessed, 66 were not overfished and not subject to overfishing,” Dr Hatfield-Dodds said.

“The reports reflect a generally stable trend of stock status, with only eight stocks changing status from last year.

“The status of redleg banana prawns in the Northern Prawn Fishery and brown tiger prawns in the Torres Strait Prawn Fishery both improved this year, and both stocks are now considered not overfished and not subject to overfishing.

“In contrast, three jointly managed stocks have gone the other way. This includes striped marlin in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery which is now classified as overfished, and albacore and bigeye tuna in the Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery which are now classified as subject to overfishing.

“Australia is working with the other fishing nations of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission to try to improve the status of these stocks.

“However, a number of stocks in these fisheries remain classified as overfished and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority continues to work with stakeholders on strategies for rebuilding these stocks.

“The reports also look at the economic performance of fisheries managed by the Australian Government, with AU$437 million generated in gross value of production (GVP) in 2018–19. This represents 24 per cent of the AU$1.79 billion GVP of Australia’s total wild-capture fisheries.”


Published since 1978, Ausmarine is the foremost magazine servicing the Australian and New Zealand commercial, military and government marine sectors.