Environment News: AFMA’s scientific management processes


THE Australian Fish Management Authority (AFMA) cops a beating on this website fairly regularly, particularly in recent times over its handling of the small pelagic/supertrawler issue. AFMA management makes recommendations based on science and research… but then the AFMA Commission makes final decisions presumably after considering the broader views of the relevant parts of the commercial fishing industry, other stakeholders and the fisheries minister of the day.

So it will be interesting to follow the decision making final outcomes on the recommendations contained in AFMA management papers for total allowable catches (TACs) for the 2016-17 fishing year.

The recent TAC recommendations for the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF) cover 34 quota and two non-quota species. About eight of these are of particular interest to recreational fishers so here’s a summary of what’s recommended for each, with comparisons to the actual catches in 2014-15 and the agreed TACs for 2015-16, in tonnes (t):


Clearly lots of work goes into determining the increase, decrease or no change recommendations for these (and the other species). Only flathead appear to be harvested at very close to the suggested TAC levels, or at least they were in 2014-15. Are the others not particularly profitable or just not specifically targeted at this time? Was 14-15 an atypical year? From the full AFMA table (which can be found here), it looks like school whiting, pink ling and school shark are the other major targets.

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