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Plenty of Fish in the Sea, says Commonwealth Fisheries Report

14 January 2013

AUSTRALIA - A recently released report shows that management of Commonwealth fisheries is achieving excellent results in ensuring a sustainable supply of Australian seafood from healthy fish stocks.

The most recent Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) Fishery Status Reports 2011, released in December 2012, shows that since 2007 the number of key commercial fish stocks known to be sustainably fished has doubled (from 28 to 56). This list includes popular table fish such as flathead and prawns.

Tough action by both government and the fishing industry is actively rebuilding some stocks that were previously depleted with the number of fish stocks classified as ‘overfished and/or subject to overfishing’ decreasing by nearly 20 per cent (from 16 to 13 stocks) over the same period.

While studying our oceans is always a difficult task, the levels of uncertainty about key seafood species has also improved dramatically since 2007. The ABARES report show that the number of fish stocks with ‘uncertain’ status has halved (from 52 to 26) since 2007.

Australian Fisheries Management Authority CEO Dr James Findlay said that these numbers show that AFMA’s management is working and consumers should be confident that when they buy Australian seafood they are buying from fisheries that are managed sustainably.

“Every year we see more and more encouraging figures in these and other independent reports on the health ofAustralia’s fisheries. This is the result of good management by government and industry rather than good luck,” Dr Findlay said.

“The reduced uncertainty about our fish stocks is particularly encouraging and this is the result of considerable investment by both government and the industry to improve the knowledge we use to make our decisions.

“What this report means is that the Australian public can have confidence that they will continue to have access to sustainably-caught Australian seafood from Commonwealth fisheries, well into the future.”

Every year since AFMA was established in 1992, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has independently reported on the biological health of key commercial fish stocks harvested in Commonwealth fisheries. Anyone who is interested in knowing more about the performance of fisheries management and seafood sustainability can access the report on the ABARES website.

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