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Catch Limits Increase as Stock Data Improves

Sustainability Politics +2 more

AUSTRALIA - The Australian Fisheries Management Authority has set total allowable catch figures for the 2012-13 fishing season in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery, with positive scientific trends about the health of fish stocks allowing an increase in catches of a number of key species while maintaining strong sustainability in the fishery.

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AFMA and the industry invest heavily in scientific assessments on the health of fish resources and a number of the assessments show that some of our fish populations can support an increase in allowable catch. As a result of this new information, aggregate total allowable catch in the fishery has risen six per cent, from 23,106 tonnes in the 2011-12 fishing season to 24,519 tonnes for the 2012-13 fishing season.

The catch limit increased for nine key stocks, including Blue Grenadier which went from 4,700 tonnes per year to 5,200 tonnes per year because of strong fish stocks. AFMA CEO Dr James Findlay said he is extremely pleased with this result.

“The improvement that we are seeing in fish stocks is great news for industry and consumers – basically it means more fresh, healthy, local fish on Australian tables,” he said.

The scientific advice also showed that catch limits of some species needed to be reduced to ensure healthy stocks into the future. Six species saw a decrease from last year’s catch limit, including School Shark, which was reduced to allow these populations to improve.

These sustainable limits mean that consumers can eat healthy seafood and be confident that it comes from a sustainable source.

In addition to fisheries scientists, AFMA also takes advice from economists, conservation groups, recreational fishing representatives and the fishing industry through management advisory committees, resource assessment groups, industry associations and other peak bodies.