You can now download raw data on annual catch and effort for Commonwealth fisheries from AFMA catch disposal records and AFMA daily fishing logbooks.
We encourage you to use and share these datasets, whether you are just interested in Commonwealth fisheries or you want to mash-up this information and come up with new ideas or applications!
To learn more about the data please read our frequently asked questions below.
Important! Read before using the data
- The datasets are raw (uncleaned) and may contain errors. Errors are more likely in the species caught in low volumes.
- AFMA data is cleaned and checked by scientists when it is used for scientific assessment for fisheries management.
- You need to be careful when interpreting trends in these datasets because there are many factors that can affect catch levels. For example, management measures such as total allowable catches, closing fishing areas, reducing boat numbers or banning the catch of a particular species can lower catches, as can reduced market demand.
- A detailed description of where the data comes from and how it is produced is included with the datasets. Read this information carefully so you understand what each dataset means and its limitations.
- Be careful when comparing this dataset to other data or reports as different time periods or data sources may be used. This dataset is reported by calendar year. AFMA sets total allowable catches (TACs) for fishing seasons. ABARES fishery status reports use fishing seasons to report data which allows seasonal catch to be compared to TAC.
More fisheries data
To help you find more information on Commonwealth fisheries we have put together a list of useful links.
ABARES fishery status reports – provide independent evaluation of the biological and economic status of Commonwealth fisheries by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) and are published annually.
ABARES Australian Fishery Statistics – provide fisheries production and trade data and are published annually.
Our fishery pages also have many publications and reports including:
- Strategic assessments and annual status reports that are submitted by AFMA to the Minister of the Environment for assessing the ecological sustainability of management arrangements for Commonwealth fisheries
- Fishery Risk Assessment Reports and Management Strategies – Risk assessments have been completed for all major Commonwealth-managed fisheries. The risk assessments identify a priority list of the key ecological areas in each fishery that require management attention. Ecological risk management strategies have been developed to address the priority lists for each fishery
- Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery stock assessment summaries and reports
- Northern Prawn Fishery data summaries provide an annual summary of catch and effort in the Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF).
We also publish catchwatch reports which provide catch to date of quota species in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery and the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery each fishing season. These reports are used by fishers to monitor catches and quota availability as well as other stakeholders who are interested in the landings.
International and Australian data is published by regional fishery management organisations such as;
- The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) – CCAMLR Statistical Bulletins include catch and effort data from fisheries in the CCAMLR Convention area and are published annually
- The Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) – collects a variety of data types from its members and cooperating non-members, including total catch, catch and effort data, and catch at size data
- The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) – produces a WCPFC Tuna Year book including annual catches in the WCPFC area
- The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) – publishes data on global fisheries including the FAO yearbook: Fishery and Aquaculture statistics.
The data provided by AFMA is raw (unprocessed) data and may contain errors or be incomplete. AFMA makes no warranty or representation that the data is accurate or complete. Those who choose to use this data should make their own enquiries as to its accuracy and completeness and AFMA assumes no liability for any errors or omissions in the data provided, or for any decision by a person who chooses to rely on the data.
Visit data.gov.au to download:
These are accurate weights that are recorded by both the fisher and the fish receiver permit holder when fish are landed at port.
These catch weights are estimates only that have been recorded by fishers while at sea.
These effort data are estimates which habe been recorded by fishers while at sea.
Frequently asked questions
When fish are landed at port, the accurate weight of fish is recorded in AFMA catch disposal records (CDRs) by both the fisher and the fish receiver permit holder. The forms are submitted to AFMA and the data is entered into our database.
The forms used for AFMA CDRs are available on the AFMA website.
AFMA data is cleaned and checked by scientists when it is used for scientific assessment for fishery management.
Catch disposal record data helps AFMA manage our fisheries. The data helps us to:
- monitor quota species landed and make deductions from fishers’ quota holdings
- provide input into scientific stock assessments
- provide a paper trail that can be used for compliance purposes
- provide information to calculate Gross Value of Production (GVP) for Commonwealth fisheries. GVP is published annually in the Australian Fishery Statistics.
While at sea, all Commonwealth fishers must record all catch and effort details (including gear and spatial position) in their AFMA daily fishing logbooks. The logbook forms are submitted to AFMA and the data is entered into the AFMA database.
The forms used for AFMA logbooks are available on the AFMA website.
Catch weights are used in combination with logbook gear, effort and spatial data to inform fishery stock assessments.
The recorded weights in logbooks are estimates only. Fishers usually cannot accurately weigh fish at sea, so the estimated weights are mostly based on volume (for example, the size and number of boxes of fish caught).
There is information about the dataset on data.gov.au including:
- source of the data
- date published, updated and frequency of update
- licence (how you may use the data and how it should be referenced)
- how the data is collected
- appropriate use and limitations
- glossary (including explanation of acronyms and column headings).
You need to read this information to understand how the data is collected, its limitations and appropriate use.
Discards are fish that are returned to the sea and not landed at port. This may occur because the fish are unmarketable, are not allowed to be retained, or other operational reasons.
Fishers are required to record all catch and discards in their daily fishing logbooks while at sea. It should be noted the amounts recorded in these logbooks are estimates only.
AFMA also collects discard data through a scientific observer program to estimate total discards for a fishery. This information is used in stock assessments to ensure catch levels are sustainable.
The catch data currently published on data.gov.au does not include discard data.
Fishers may accidentally catch or interact with unintended species when fishing. The risk and management of these interactions are managed under AFMA’s ecological risk assessment and management framework. Read more on the ecological risk assessment and management framework.
AFMA regularly reports interactions with protected species in AFMA managed fisheries to the Department of the Environment on behalf of Commonwealth fishers. These reports are compiled from fishers’ daily fishing logbooks and are published on our website.
There may be differences when comparing this data to other data sets or reports due to different time periods, data sources or data handling procedures.
- ABARES fishery status reports generally report catch and effort data by fishing season whereas the raw data (at data.gov.au) is by calendar year.
- Catches may be based on the date fish were removed from the ocean or may be based on the date fish were landed at port.
- When undertaking stock assessments, scientists may filter out catches due to data quality issues or may group species differently.
A research catch allowance is an amount of fish that may be caught for research purposes under an AFMA scientific permit. The research contributes to AFMA fishery management decisions.
The total research catch allowance is set by AFMA when determining the quota for the season. The research allowance must be consistent with the species/fishery harvest strategy. A research allowance may sometimes be set even if the quota is zero.
Codes for Australian Aquatic Biota (CAAB) is a coding system for aquatic organisms in the Australian region. It is maintained by CSIRO Division of Marine and Atmospheric Research, Australia (CMAR). You can search the CAAB database for information such as; currently accepted scientific name, common name and approved marketing name for a fish species.
The CAAB web site also allows you to obtain further information and images for the particular species through direct links to other services such as FishBase, a compendium of species-level information for fishes maintained by the World Fish Centre in the Philippines, OBIS, the Ocean Biogeographic Information System, and the Atlas of Living Australia.
AFMA will continue to look for opportunities to publish appropriate data on data.gov.au. The data published will be consistent with the Australian Government Public Data Policy Statement and also AFMA’s Information Disclosure Policy. AFMA will notify stakeholders via the AFMA website.