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Report: Australian fisheries “sustainable”

ACCORDING to the Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks Reports officially released last week, almost 90 per cent of Australian fish stocks are sustainable.

The report put together from research of over 80 scientists finds two species, the southern bluefin tuna and school shark, are overfished, while a further three are shown to be declining.

Patrick Hone, from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, says it’s the first time such a comprehensive report on fish has been undertaken anywhere in the world.

“This now provides us with a blueprint for where we need to focus our science and our management,” he said.

“When you read the report, it tells us where we’ve got to put our effort in terms of getting better data, or or doing better management, and that is going to be an absolute godsend for fisheries management.”

Prepared by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) in collaboration with more than 80 leading fisheries researchers, the reports aren’t supposed to act as a guide for “eco-labelling” seafood products.

The first snapshot of Australia’s wild fish populations, released today, shows less than two per cent comes from depleting or recovering stocks, while 3.5 per cent comes from overfished species.

Federal Fisheries Minister Joe Ludwig said fishing was a big part of Australian culture and a key industry for coastal towns and communities.

“Consumers can be confident that locally caught seafood comes from fisheries that effectively manage the sustainability of the wild fish stock,” he said at the launch of reports in Mackay, Queensland.

The reports form a “fantastic information base” for governments, fishers, consumers and researchers wanting to compare the status of the key wild-caught fish stocks around Australia, the minister said.

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