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Thursday, February 5, 2015

05/02/2015: Research and adaptive management the key to good West Australian fisheries


The latest status report on Western Australia’s fisheries and aquatic resources reinforces the State’s highly-regarded reputation for fisheries science and management.

Executive Director of Research for the Department of Fisheries, Dr Rick Fletcher said the risks to most aquatic ecological resources in WA continued to be at acceptable levels.

“This State is one of the only jurisdictions in the world with a fully implemented, comprehensive and practical, Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management framework,” Dr Fletcher said.

http://www.fish.wa.gov.au/Pages/Home.aspx

“A key part of this risk-based comprehensive approach is that it examines the status of target species, plus the broader impacts on the environment; including by-catch and habitats. It also examines the impacts of external factors on the ecosystems within each of the State’s Bioregions, such as changing climate and aquatic pests.”

Dr Fletcher said the latest reports showed that approximately 97 percent of stocks targeted in WA’s commercial fisheries required no new or enhanced management approaches.  

“Most of the current risks to stocks and the fisheries they support have been generated by adverse environmental conditions,” he said. “Even though fishing-related activities have not been the cause of the declines within these systems, adjustments to fishing activities are often still required to ensure ongoing sustainability of these resources.  

“Past examples include management action to protect the State’s iconic western rock lobster fishery, when it encountered a series of poor recruitment years. 

“Protecting the breeding stocks through that period has seen beneficial returns for both the commercial and recreational sectors after good recruitment levels returned.” 

Dr Fletcher said current management actions for the Australian herring and abalone stocks were aimed at taking the fishing pressure off species that had been impacted largely by increased water temperatures.

“Similarly, the series of poor recruitment and adult survival levels observed for crabs and scallops in Shark Bay and the Abrolhos Island region started after the marine heat wave in 2011, with these fisheries still closed or facing additional restrictions,” Dr Fletcher said.

“This reinforces the importance of ongoing research and adaptive management strategies, to both identify and respond to any concerns that do arise in WA’s fisheries.”

Visit the Department of Fisheries website HERE.

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