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More New Science for Australia's Small Pelagic Fishery

18 March 2015

AUSTRALIA - Senator Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, has released the results of the latest science regarding a key small pelagic fish stock.

The report, Summer spawning patterns and preliminary daily egg production method survey of Jack Mackerel and Australian sardine off the east coast, provides the very latest science and updates research last undertaken between 2002 to 2004.

"The Australian Government has done exactly what we said we would do, by conducting more science on small pelagic fish species," Senator Colbeck said.

"This is part of our commitment to a sustainable fishery that is there for all fishing groups and future generations to enjoy.

"The results released today confirm earlier work undertaken previously in the SPF that the eastern Jack Mackerel stock is in a very healthy state."

This survey for eastern Jack Mackerel estimated that the size of the adult spawning stock is around 157,000 tonnes. This is considered large enough to enable a modest commercial catch to be taken without the marine ecosystem being adversely affected.

The independent Australian Fisheries Management Authority Commission will consider all the scientific advice before setting total allowable commercial catches for the eastern stock of jack mackerel and other SPF species by 1 May this year.

The survey also undertook a preliminary investigation of eastern Australian Sardine for use in future surveys.

"We are doing as we promised by seeking additional science around the small pelagic fishery and today's announcement follows the release of more science from the CSIRO earlier this year which found that tuna, seals and penguins are not dependent on SPF target species for their diet," Senator Colbeck said.

"In addition to this, another recent scientific report found that localised depletion is unlikely as the SPF target species are highly mobile and local areas replenish quickly."

The report was funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and was undertaken collaboratively by fisheries scientists from the South Australian Research and Development Institute, and the University of Tasmania through the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies.

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

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