Management of Fisheries

How are Australia’s fisheries managed? 

Fisheries management aims to make the most of the fish that belong to all Australians and to minimise adverse impacts of fishing on the marine ecosystem and environment. Fisheries management is generally an adaptive process, because fish populations can be influenced not only by the fishery's harvest but also by environmental effects and natural variation. 

Fisheries also change in response to changes in market demands, fuel prices and other factors. One of the key factors that managers and fishers need to respond to is the state of fish stocks and how this can change over time, in response to fishing, environmental effects and potentially other factors (such as other human impacts, climate change or extreme natural events).

Fisheries managers use tools such as harvest strategies, stock assessments and ecosystem based modelling to decide how much fishing is allowed on certain species, when and where. Generally, fisheries managers set limits on either the amount of fishing effort (including when, where and with what gear catches can be taken—referred to as input controls) or the level of catch that can be taken from a stock (referred to as output controls). These decisions are usually based on the best available science at the time of the decision, but may also take into account other factors, such as economics or ecosystem requirements. 

Information on Australia's fisheries can be found via the Fishfiles website here: http://fishfiles.com.au/Fisheries-and-Farms


For more stories in FISH magazine relating to fisheries management check out these links:
Research into Orange Roughy has helped inform monitoring and management to assist in the recovery of several of Australia’s stocks

Collaboration between government and fishers has helped Victoria’s western abalone fishery to recover from a catastrophic virus outbreak

Fishers and managers can make use of new national guidelines to set a clear direction and consistent approach in the development of new harvest strategies

New modelling of the Spencer Gulf marine ecosystem helps to identify how changes to one aspect of the ecosystem affect others

A new approach to reporting the status of Australian fish stocks improves transparency and provides public access to dynamic data on the status of stocks

Australian fisheries are managed in line with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the supporting United Nations Fish Stocks Implementation Agreement, which are reflected in the legislation and policy of the Commonwealth, states and territories. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries provides guidelines for the implementation of UNCLOS and UNFSIA, with the high-level requirement that: 
States should prevent overfishing and excess fishing capacity and should implement management measures to ensure that fishing effort is commensurate with the productive capacity of the fishery resources and their sustainable utilization. States should take measures to rehabilitate populations as far as possible and when appropriate.