The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has adjusted management measures for a number of Commonwealth species in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF) in response to the latest scientific assessments.
The SESSF operates off the coasts of Victoria, southern New South Wales and Tasmania, and supplies much of the market fish across these states.
The CEO of AFMA, Wez Norris, said it is encouraging to see healthy stocks and opportunities for industry to sustainably increase catches of key economic species for the fishery.
‘The stock assessment for blue grenadier, considered by the South East Resource Assessment Group at the end of 2018, has shown an increase in biomass which has led to a 39% increase in the total allowable catch for the 2019 season,’ he said.
As part of the implementation of harvest strategies, we’ve also made some variations to further promote the rebuilding of two fish stocks. The eastern redfish total allowable catch has been reduced from 100 tonnes to 50 tonnes, to better reflect recent incidental catches, and a ‘move-on’ provision has been introduced for blue warehou, to reduce the risk of large catches. AFMA is putting these measures in place to ensure juvenile fish can grow for future seasons and contribute to rebuilding of the stocks.’
He commented that each year, robust scientific data is collected and used to inform fisheries management decisions, to ensure that Commonwealth fish stocks are sustainable now and into the future.
‘The Commonwealth commercial fishing industry understands that fisheries management is a dynamic process and are key drivers and adopters of change,’ Wez Norris said.
‘We also recently commenced a co-management arrangement with the South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association which is a great opportunity for AFMA and industry to work closely on key issues for the fishery.’
Kicking off in May, the 2019 SESSF season has already seen a steady supply of some of Australia’s favourite fish, like flathead, gummy shark (flake) and blue grenadier – otherwise known as hoki.