AFMA Project R2010/0811
The release of the Commonwealth Government’s “Securing our Fishing Future” package in 2005 identified the need to ensure that all fisheries, including Australia’s two tropical tuna fisheries, are placed on a sustainable basis. Towards this end a formal harvest strategy was developed for the these two fisheries and this harvest strategy has been used by the Tropical Tuna Resource Assessment Group (TTRAG) to provide advice to both the Tropical Tuna Management Advisory Committee (TTMAC) and AFMA on recommended Total Allowable Commercial Catches (TACCs) for the five principal target species in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery.
This project was developed to meet the continuing need to undertake the annual stock assessments and implementation of the harvest strategy required to provide ongoing advice to the TTRAG to ensure the adequate monitoring and success of these new management arrangements. This advice was seen as being particularly important during the initial period that the harvest strategy was to be implemented and its utility assessed. In particular, the project had the following specific objectives:
- Manage all data for the Australia’s tropical tuna fisheries held by CSIRO;
- Investigate the principle fishery and market drivers of fishing and targeting practices and assess responses to the introduction of quota management.
- Assess the implications of quota management on fishery indicators and update or develop new indicators as required;
- Implement the harvest strategies for Australia’s tropical tuna fisheries and determine annual RBCs for each target species;
- Further develop and evaluate the harvest strategies adopted in Australia’s tropical tuna fisheries, in particular the identification of fishery indicators and reference points for byproduct and bycatch species;
- Evaluate the environmental and oceanographic factors influencing the seasonal and inter-annual availability of fish resources to Australia’s tropical tuna fisheries;
- Provide scientific input to the Tropical Tuna RAG and assist it to identify and evaluate ancillary management issues and strategies, as they arise, that may affect the operation of the fishery or harvest strategy;
- Collaborate on the assessment of the principal species in the WCPO and the Indian Ocean and the provision of scientific advice to the related Commissions.
The present report consists of many of the working and information papers produced during the three year life of this project. These papers, which cover the broad range of topics described above, comprised the major component of the scientific advice provided to both TTRAG and TTMAC, and directly to AFMA, over this period.