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Commercial Fishing Marine Science



A new Southern Bluefin Tuna survey taking place in South Australia has invited recreational fishers to provide information to help measure the recreational harvest.

The Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has launched a national survey to understand the recreational SBT fishing harvest, the first time this kind of assessment has been undertaken.

The comprehensive survey of recreational fishers, running from 1 December 2018 through to 30 November 2019, will cover four of the states where SBT are caught – South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania.

Primary Industries and Regions SA Executive Director Fisheries and Aquaculture Sean Sloan said that SBT is an iconic species targeted by commercial and recreational fishers.

“This is an opportunity to estimate the recreational harvest of SBT, and to better understand the nature and scale of this important recreational fishery,” Mr Sloan said.

“Compulsory reporting mechanisms are required for the commercial harvest of SBT in Australia, but the recreational fishing harvest has not been estimated at a national level.

“In South Australia, onsite surveys will be conducted at boat ramps where it is known that fishers go out in trailer boats to fish for SBT – so I encourage fishers to engage with survey staff if they see them during the survey period.

“Surveys will be held at locations around South Australia including boat ramps in the Limestone Coast, and on Kangaroo Island, Fleurieu Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula, and Eyre Peninsula.

“Southern Bluefin Tuna are South Australia’s largest single aquaculture product, with overseas exports of $117 million in 2016–17.

“This accounts for more than 57% of the state’s total value of aquaculture production.

“Our aquaculture industry is a highly successful and sustainably managed sector, underpinned by regular regional environmental monitoring and related research.”

SBT are an iconic pelagic fish found in the open seas of the southern hemisphere. Managed internationally as a single breeding stock, they are currently recovering from critically low levels.

The recreational fishing survey will be conducted by the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) Fisheries team.