Wednesday, December 3, 2014

03/12/2014: Catch increase for South Australian sardine fishers

Sardines might be one of the smallest fish caught, but the industry is the largest single species commercial fishery by volume in Australia, and it's getting bigger, ABC News reports

The South Australian industry has launched a new management plan to keep the AUS$20 million fishery sustainable, which includes catching more fish. 95 percent of the sardine catch is fed to Port Lincoln's southern blue fin tuna farms, but the industry wants to harness the human consumption potential by increasing demand both domestically and in India and China.

South Australia Sardine Industry Association executive officer Paul Watson says the quota has been increased from 34,000 to 38,000 tonnes. 

"The spawning biomass estimate seems like the highest egg count that we've seen in the fishery in the time that the daily egg production model surveys have been conducted. That's really encouraging.” 

Mr Watson says pelagic fisheries do a have a history of fluctuating up and down with stock numbers. In 2004-2005, it had a peak catch of 57,000 tonnes.

"To date, it's been quite stable and with this management plan Industry and Government are confident that the harvest strategy and harvest rates are sufficiently conservative to ensure the long-term sustainability of the stock.”

The industry has already come a long way. When it started in 1991, the catch was 1000 tonnes. South Australia Fisheries Minister Leon Bignell says the management plan includes harvest strategies, stock assessment, compliance and regulations for the next five years. 

"Reduced catches and a fall in the price of sardines have impacted on the industry during the past few years. However, with co-operation between Primary Industries and Regions SA and the industry the development of this new management plan is set to deliver sustainable growth for the our sardine fishers." 

Read the original article HERE

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