Researchers angling for SBT recreational data

A TEAM of Commonwealth and state fishery researchers will begin interviewing anglers at boat ramps and marinas across southeastern Australia over the next 12 months, as they develop methods to estimate the national recreational catch of Southern bluefin tuna (SBT).

Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) acting executive director Kim Ritman said SBT was a highly-valued species.

“The latest assessments indicate the Southern bluefin tuna stock is currently at a very low level and it is classified as overfished by the ABARES Fishery status reports, and the international body in charge of managing Southern bluefin tuna has recognised this in adopting a formal management procedure to rebuild the stock,” Dr Ritman said.

“Recreational catches of Southern bluefin tuna are believed to have expanded in recent years, highlighting the need to find out more about recreational fishing and ensure the management of these activities is aligned with the international Southern Bluefin Tuna Rebuilding Strategy.

“The recreational catch is one of many sources of mortality for the stock and Australia has committed to take this into account in managing mortality in Australian waters.

“This study will build on existing programs and surveys undertaken by Fisheries Victoria in 2011 and by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies in Tasmania last year, adapting and testing these methods in other areas.”

A separate research project is estimating the survival rates of SBT caught and released by recreational anglers. Stay tuned to Fisho for news on that one…

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