Feature story

Statistics show healthier fish stocks and improved profits

The health of Australia’s fish stocks in Commonwealth waters has continued to improve and profits to fishing boats in most fisheries have increased too. That’s what a recent report from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences shows. This is good news for our fishing industry and consumers as it means more sustainable, fresh, local fish on Australian tables.

Average net economic returns to boats in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (which supplies many south-east Australian consumers) are at their highest levels since surveys began in the mid 1990s according to the recent economic information collected by Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences . The improvement in fish stocks has allowed recent increases in sustainable catches of a number of key species. The economic surveys also show increases in net economic returns for the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery and the Northern Prawn Fishery.

Since 2006 the Australian Government, in partnership with the fishing industry, has introduced significant changes in fisheries management to achieve more sustainable fish stocks and improved profits in most Commonwealth fisheries. The government invested in a buyback program to reduce the number of boats operating in Commonwealth waters meaning that profits are shared with a smaller number of boats so on average each boat receives a larger share.

A world’s best practice “harvest strategy policy” has been implemented which sets clear ground rules for how Commonwealth fisheries are managed for sustainability and profitability. Some fish stocks had strict fishing limits applied to allow the fish stocks to recover. The fishing industry and the Australian community are now seeing the benefits through more fish being harvested.

Healthier fish stocks has meant more fresh local seafood on plates