SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Trachurus declivis

SPECIES NAME(s)

Greenback horse mackerel, Jack mackerel

COMMON NAMES

Common jack mackerel , Cowanyoung

Greenback horse mackerel (Trachurus declivis), commonly known as "jack mackerel," is an important commercial species in the Oceania region, occurring along the Australian coast starting with southern Queensland, throughout southern Australia, and north to the central coast of Western Australia. Greenback horse mackerel (also known as common jack mackerel or cowanyoung) is also found in the waters of New Zealand. They are a small pelagic species, forming schools over the continental shelf and outer shelf margin. Individuals have been found in depths of 460 m but this species is more commonly found between 20 m and 300 m.

The stock structure of jack mackerel is unclear. There is evidence that the population of jack mackerel found in eastern Australia is genetically distinct from the one found in western Australia, with a third distinct population in New Zealand. These conclusions are based on morphological and meristic differences between fish from the Great Australian Bight and eastern Australia, genetic differences between fish from the Great Australian Bight and New Zealand, and a lack of genetic difference between fish from eastern Tasmania and New South Wales (AFMA (Australian Fisheries Management Authority) 2018); (Bulman et al. 2008).


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • Effort has been low in the fishery for several years (2009–2017) and the stock is officially classified as "not overfished."
  • The harvest strategy is precautionary and tailored to the targeted species and ecosystem.
  • Ecological impacts of the fishery have been studied recently and the chance of the fishery triggering a trophic cascade has been deemed low.
Weaknesses
  • The fishery is known to interact with several ETP marine mammals, seabirds, and sharks. and information about impacts to these species is not comprehensive.
  • Mid-water trawls are known to have some contact with bottom habitat, but impats of this fishery on the ocean floor are not well-studied.
Options
  • Update research on the fishery's impact on ETP marine mammals, seabirds, and sharks.
  • If fishery effort rises significantly (quotas have recently nearly doubled) explore spatial management approaches to protect sensitive habitats from trawl bottom contact.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 8

Managers Compliance:

10

Fishers Compliance:

10

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

≥ 6

Future Health:

10


FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

  • South East Australia small pelagic fishery (commonwealth) mid-water trawl:

    MSC Certified

Fisheries

Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

ASSESSMENT UNIT MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
Eastern Australia New South Wales Ocean Fishery Australia Purse seines
Single boat bottom otter trawls
Small Pelagic Fishery Australia Midwater trawls
Purse seines
Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery (TAS) Australia Beach seines
Midwater trawls
Purse seines
Victorian Ocean Fishery Australia Midwater trawls
Purse seines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 16 November 2018

Strengths
  • Effort has been low in the fishery for several years (2009–2017) and the stock is officially classified as "not overfished."
  • The harvest strategy is precautionary and tailored to the targeted species and ecosystem.
  • Ecological impacts of the fishery have been studied recently and the chance of the fishery triggering a trophic cascade has been deemed low.
Weaknesses
  • The fishery is known to interact with several ETP marine mammals, seabirds, and sharks. and information about impacts to these species is not comprehensive.
  • Mid-water trawls are known to have some contact with bottom habitat, but impats of this fishery on the ocean floor are not well-studied.
Options
  • Update research on the fishery's impact on ETP marine mammals, seabirds, and sharks.
  • If fishery effort rises significantly (quotas have recently nearly doubled) explore spatial management approaches to protect sensitive habitats from trawl bottom contact.
RECOMMENDATIONS
Australia

Last updated on 15 January 2019

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • This profile is not currently high on our priority list for development, and we can’t at this time provide an accurate prediction of when it will be developed. To speed up an evaluation of the sustainability status of lower priority fisheries we have initiated a program whereby industry can directly contract SFP-approved analysts to develop a FishSource profile on a fishery. More information on this External Contributor Program is available at https://www.sustainablefish.org/Programs/Science/External-Contributor-Program.
Australia

Last updated on 15 January 2019

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
Australia

Last updated on 15 January 2019

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • This profile is not currently high on our priority list for development, and we can’t at this time provide an accurate prediction of when it will be developed. To speed up an evaluation of the sustainability status of lower priority fisheries we have initiated a program whereby industry can directly contract SFP-approved analysts to develop a FishSource profile on a fishery. More information on this External Contributor Program is available at https://www.sustainablefish.org/Programs/Science/External-Contributor-Program.
Australia

Last updated on 15 January 2019

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • This profile is not currently high on our priority list for development, and we can’t at this time provide an accurate prediction of when it will be developed. To speed up an evaluation of the sustainability status of lower priority fisheries we have initiated a program whereby industry can directly contract SFP-approved analysts to develop a FishSource profile on a fishery. More information on this External Contributor Program is available at https://www.sustainablefish.org/Programs/Science/External-Contributor-Program.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 16 November 2018

The main type of stock assessment survey for management of the fishery is the Daily Egg Production Method (DEPM) fishery-independent survey, which generates estimates of biological parameters critical to managing the fishery (e.g. egg production, spawning area, and spawning fraction). During the DEPM, ichthyoplankton samples are gathered from the entire spawning area during peak spawning season using towed nets. Spawning biomass is estimated by dividing the total daily egg production by the mean daily fecundity (Ward et al. 2015).

The frequency of conducting DEPMs is directly linked to how precautionary the management strategy is—a species can only maintain "Tier 1" status if DEPM surveys are conducted at a minimum once every five years (AFMA (Australian Fisheries Management Authority) 2018).

Biomass of common jack mackerel east was first estimated in 2011, with researchers applying the daily egg production method (DEPM) to samples gathered in 2002 from a limited portion of the stock's habitat. A biomass estimate range of 114,900–169,000 t was generated through this effort (Neira 2011). A new surveying effort and DEPM was conducted in 2014 with a biomass estimate of 157,805 t yielded and considered more reliable due to the inclusion of a wider proportion of jack mackerel habitat in the survey (Ward et al. 2015). Furthermore, ecosystem modellng (using two models: 1) Ecosim with Ecopath and 2) Atlantis) has also been applied to estimate jack mackerel biomass in southeast Australia, with a 2013 study looking at the biomass of jack mackerel needed to maintain the Southeast Australia shelf ecosystem generating an estimate of 130,000–170,000 t (i.e., an estimate comparable to the result of the 2014 DEPM) (Fulton 2013).

Last updated on 16 November 2018

The New South Wales state fishery relies upon stock assessment surveys conducted in adjacent Commonwealth waters for the management of national fisheries rather than conducting its own surveys in state waters. This is in line with the stipulation of the 1999 Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act that responsibility for assessing the sustainability of national and state fisheries lies with the national government (Department of the Environment and Energy 2018).

Information from the Commonwealth assessments is fed into the New South Wales Resource Assessment System, where the most up-to-date information for over 100 speices is entered into the System by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and annually reviewed by DPI scientists at a Resource Assessment Workshop. An outcome from the workshop is formal, annual assignment of an "exploitation status" to each species as well as a Resource Assessment Class (RAC) that indicates how detailed and current the available information is.

As of December 2016, using information gathered primarily in the context of management of the Commonwealth trawl fishery, DPI scientists rated jack mackerel "moderately fished" for exploitation, and scored the species a "2" on a RAC scale of 1–5 (1 = most comprehensive data, 5 = least comprehensive data) (Department of Primary Industries 2016).

Last updated on 16 November 2018

Species targeted in the Tasmanian scalefish fishery are considered either "key species" or "minor species," and this accounts for the current and future envisioned level of stock assessment and stock status reporting. Stock status is reported at "full," "medium," and "minor" levels. Jack mackerel are currently deemed a "minor" species, and along with all other minor species in the fishery, stock assement and reporting currently occurs at a "minor" level (predominantly catch and effort information from the fishery are gathered and anssessed against performance indicators and reference points). Only one species in the fishery, banded morwong, receives "full" attention (e.g. biomass and fishing mortality are estimated).

Annually, the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) publishes assessments of key and minor species harvested in the Scalefish fishery. The assessments use best available information and apply distinctions used in the national stock reporting framework to describe whether or not the stock is recruit overfished (i.e. Sustainable, Transitional Recovering, Transitional Depleting, Overfished and Undefined). These distinctions are made on the basis of stock status against performance indicators for which reference points unique to the Scalefish Fishery have been developed. The reference points for fishing mortality and biomass for jack mackerel consist of various benchmarks for catch and effort (i.e., proxies).

In the most recent assessment, jack mackerel were rated "sustainable" on the basis of limited effort devoted to this species in the Tasmanian fishery (Moore et al. 2018).

Last updated on 16 November 2018

For the management of some of its fisheries, the Victoria state fishery references stock assessment surveys conducted in adjacent Commonwealth waters for the management of national fisheries rather than conducting its own surveys in state waters. Meanwhile, for primary species in the fishery (not including jack mackerel), the national government conducts stock assessments specific to state waters (Department of the Environment and Energy 2018). This is in line with the stipulation of the 1999 Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act that responsibility for assessing the sustainability of national and state fisheries lies with the national government.

The Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) references the national Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks stock assessment effort in reporting on the status of stocks harvested in its fisheries. Common jack mackerel rates as "Sustainable" according to the latest version of this assessment, which relied upon DEPM data used in management of the Commonwealth fishery in rating the species  (Stewardson et al. 2016).   VFA also qualitatively assesses current risk to the status of each key stock in its waters, but jack mackerel is not considered a key species in the province (Victorian Fisheries Authority 2018).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 16 November 2018

The Australian Small Pelagic Fishery is not managed to achieve reference points for stock status; rather, harvest rates are applied at one of three precautionary tiers on the basis of expert judgement in interpreting the latest DEPM survey results:

Tier 1: RBCs for each Tier 1 species in each zone are set at 10-20% (average 15% over five years) of the median spawning biomass estimated using the Daily Egg Production Method (DEPM). The exploitation rate applied each season is determined by the Small Pelagic Fishery Resource Assessment Group (SPFRAG) based on the time period since the last DEPM (as outlined in the HS) and annual assessments of catch/effort data and size/age structure of catches. Tier One harvest rate for jack mackerel = 12%.

Tier 2: Maximum RBCs for each Tier 2 species in each zone are specified based, where possible, on up to 7.5% of the median spawning biomass estimate. RBCs are determined by the SPFRAG on the basis of old (>5 years) DEPM estimates and annual assessments of catch/effort data and size/age structure of catches. Tier Two harvest rate for jack mackerel = 6%.

Tier 3: Maximum RBCs for Tier 3 species in each zone may not exceed 500 t. RBCs are determined by SPFRAG on the basis of catch and effort data. Tier Three harvest rate for jack mackerel = 3% (AFMA (Australian Fisheries Management Authority) 2017).

The 2015–2016 and 2016–2017 Recommended Biological Catches (RBCs) and Total Allowable Catches (TACs) for jack mackerel east were based on the DEPM survey conducted in 2014, which indicated that jack mackerel east stock status is healthy and upon which basis the SPF Scientific Panel was comfortable setting the harvest rate for the species at the maximum (Tier One) level allowable under the fishery harvest strategy (SPF Scientific Panel 2017).

Catches in some state fisheries (e.g. the Tasmanian scalefish fishery) are decremented against the TAC allocated to the Commonwealth Small Pelagic Fishery, so the harvest rate and RBC advice is also inclusive of some state fisheries.

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 16 November 2018

In the last two fishing seasons (2015–2016 and 2016–2017), catches of jack mackerel exhibited modest increase. Negligble catches had been recorded in the prior four seasons due to lack of effort in the Small Pelagic and state fisheries. A  factory trawler joined the SPF fishery in 2015–2016 and may account for the jump in catch from the previous negligible levels to 6,321 t in 2015–2016 and almost 4,000 t in 2016–2017.

The Commonwealth catch of jack mackerel east in the most recent year for which data is available (2016–17) amounted to only 2% of the 2014 spawning biomass estimate and 15% of the RBC and TAC. In the previous fishing season (2015–2016), total catch (Commonwealth and state) attained a peak for recent (post-1980s) history at 4% of the 2014 spawning biomass estimate, and 34% of the RBC and TAC. At these low levels of effort and also on the basis of stable length-frequency and age structure data, managers have deemed the risk of overfishing to be low (ABARES (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences 2017),

Fishing of jack mackerel in eastern Australia dates back to the 1980s. During the 1980s, the Small Pelagic Fishery (SPF) for jack mackerel, conducted primarily with purse seines (the optimal gear for harvest of jack mackerel), was the largest fishery in Australia, with catches of over 40,000 t. In the following decade, primarily due to declines in surface schools of jack mackerel that are thought to be environmentally-driven (possibly resulting from inter-annaul trends in oceanic conditions), catches of jack mackerel declined precipitously, and the fishery converted to midwater trawl gear in the year 2000 to target more abundant redbait (AFMA (Australian Fisheries Management Authority) 2018). After catch in the SPF bottomed out in 2011–2012 through 2014–2015, with negligible harvest of small pelagic species occurring in those years, harvest of jack mackerel has rebounded in the two subsequent seasons, with 3,966 t harvested in the most recent season for which data is available (2016–2017).

As for biomass: despite being the target of the nation's largest fishery in the 1980s, very little was known about jack mackerel stock status until the 2000s due to the absence of appropriate survey methods in the 1980s and 1990s (attempts were made at surveying abundance using hydroacoustic and aerial survey methods, but these methods did not yield reliable information). Therefore, quantitative information on biomass trends from the 1980s through the present day is lacking, although declines in CPUE clearly show that a major decline in biomass occurred between the 1980s and 1990s (Neira 2011).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 16 November 2018

Jack mackerel in New South Wales waters are predominantly targeted by purse seines in the Ocean Hauling Fishery (NSW Department of Primary Industries 2017), but also in minor quantities by bottom trawls operating in the Southern Ocean Trawl fishery (Cardno 2018).

Australia

Last updated on 16 November 2018

The Ocean Hauling Fishery is managed using a variety of non-species specific, simple input and output control measures: limited entry, boat capacity regulations, gear regulations, spatial and temporal closures, size limits, and catch-per-trip limits (NSW Department of Primary Industries 2017).   In 2014–2015, fishery stakeholders discussed the desire to upgrade the harvest strategy toward adopting species-specfic TACs and define the interrelationship between the Commonwealth SPF TAC and the state fishery TAC, but actions in this direction have yet to be finalized (Department of Primary Industries 2014).

The NSW Southern Ocean Trawl fishery, meanwhile, is currently considering the option of being subsumed within the Commonwealth SPF fishery (Cardno 2018).

Last updated on 16 November 2018

A quota management system is used in the Small Pelagic Fishery (SPF), limiting the amount of fish caught of each species.The approach is detailed in the fishery harvest strategy (ABARES (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences 2017), and entails setting recommended biological catches (RBCs) and total allowable catches (TACs) for each species targeted by the small pelagic fishery. These are set through the application of a three-tier harvest rate system separately to each stock. The tiered system was designed to allow greater proportions of spawning biomass to be harvested when higher-quality research information is available on stock status. Tier 1, for stocks with the highest quality of information (from daily egg production method [DEPM] surveys), provides for the largest potential RBC as a proportion of the estimated biomass. Tier 3, for stocks with relatively poor-quality information, provides for the smallest RBC (ABARES (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences 2017); (AFMA (Australian Fisheries Management Authority) 2018). Jack mackerel east is currently managed at the Tier 1 level (ABARES (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences 2017).

Each year the Australian Fisheries Management Authority Commission sets catch limits for the forward year-long fishing season using information provided by the fishery manager, industry members and scientists. Once the catch limit is set, it does not change regardless of the size or number of the fishing vessels used to catch the fish (ABARES (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences 2017).

Previous effectiveness testing for the jack mackerel east harvest strategy suggested that the harvest strategy is appropriate, and that its application would result in a low probability (<10%) of the stock falling below 0.2Bo (DAFF (Department of Agriculture and Water Resources) 2007); (Giannini et al. 2010). However, the most recent round of effectiveness monitoring, initiated in 2015, suggested linking setting harvest strategy to the productivity of the species (Smith et al. 2015). For jack mackerel, it was suggested that Tier 1 harvest rates should be decreased from 15% to 12%, that Tier 2 harvest rates should be set at 50% of Tier 1, and that neither should be applied for longer than 10 years. A Tier 1 harvest rate of 12% for a maximum of 5 years and a Tier 2 harvest rate of 6% for a maximum of 10 years was adopted by the AFMA Commission in April 2015 (ABARES (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences 2017).

Catch limits are intended to be set at precautionary and sustainable levels and take broader ecosystem impacts into consideration.

Last updated on 16 November 2018

In the Tasmanian scalefish fishery, jack mackerel is managed using a variety of input and output control measures:

Input controls:

  • Gear licence (Scalefish fishing licence, class seine licence).
  • Species licence (Mackerel A or B).

Output controls:

  • Possession limits for recreational fishers.
  • Commercial catches taken by Mackerel licence holders (A & B) are decremented against the TAC allocated to the Commonwealth Small Pelagic Fishery (South Australian Research and Development Institute (PIRSA) 2018).
COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 16 November 2018

The NSW Ocean Hauling fishery has neither required VMS nor required observer coverage thresholds in place. There are however patrols and inspections conducted at random within the fishery, and an annual estimate of the compliance rate in the fishery is published (90.7% in 2015–2016) (NSW Department of Primary Industries 2017).

Last updated on 16 November 2018

Catches of the four target species harvested in the Australian Small Pelagic Fishery (SPF) are managed by quota. Individual fishers receive a specified share of the quota and a 28-day quota reconciliation period is in effect for any individual quota overages. This means that, in the 28-day period after going over one's quota, the fisher is expected to reduce catch in order to have catch once agian fall within the quota cap. If the catch is still over the quota at the end of the 28 days, compliance penalities result.

All Commonwealth boats that receive quotas for the SPF fishery must also be outfitted with VMS (AFMA (Australian Fisheries Management Authority) 2018).

Observers are active in the SPF. For midwater trawls, an observer coverage target of at least 20% of effort is in effect. For new boats entering the fishery or existing boats moving into significantly new areas, observer coverage for at least the first 10 trips is required (AFMA (Australian Fisheries Management Authority) 2018).

In Australian waters, noncompliance occurs but is generally considered to be small-scale or opportunistic. Organised criminal activity can be involved but is predominantly associated with high-value, low-volume commercial fisheries rather than small pelagics. Foreign fishers can also incur into Australian waters—this mainly occurs in the northern waters for a range of species and in the Southern Ocean for Patagonian toothfish (i.e., not relevant for the Eastern Australian SPF). Some states make information on non-compliance available in reports (e.g. New South Wales, Victoria), but quantification of IUU fishing nationally is lacking (Putt and Anderson, Australian Institute of Criminology 2007).

Last updated on 16 November 2018

The Tasmanian scalefish fishery has neither required VMS nor required observer coverage thresholds in place.

The Tasmanian Fishwatch system allows for anonymous reporting of non-compliance.

A 2015 management plan document for the fishery included results from stakeholder outreach: "compliance with catch limits was mentioned in several [stakeholder] submissions, with many stating that more enforcement is needed" (Tasmanian Government 2015).

Last updated on 16 November 2018

The Victorian state fiisheries have neither required VMS nor required observer coverage thresholds in place. There are however patrols and inspections conducted at random within the fishery, and compliance data such as numbers of violations per inspection (135 violations in 860 inspections in 2016–2017, or a compliance rate of 84%) (Victorian Fisheries Authority 2018).

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 16 November 2018

The 2018 Assessment of the New South Wales Ocean Hauling Fishery rated risk of ETP interactions as low in the fishery due to targeted fishing of key species (adult schooling fish) (Department of the Environment and Energy 2018).

Last updated on 16 November 2018

Under part 2 of the Small Pelagic Fishery Management Plan 2009, AFMA is required to develop and implement a bycatch and discarding workplan for the fishery. The objective of the workplan is to ensure that information is gathered about the impact of the SPF on bycatch species, that all reasonable steps are taken to minimise incidental interactions with protected species, and that the ecological impacts of fishing on habitats are minimised. According to the fishery's most recent, 2014–2016 bycatch and discarding workplan, eight marine mammal species have been identified through Productivity Susceptibility risk analysis as high-risk for interactions with midwater trawls in the SPF:

Australian fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus)

Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

Fraser's dolphin (Lagenodelphis hosei)

Hourglass dolphin (Lagenorhynchus cruciger)

Indian Ocean bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus)

Risso's dolphin (Steno bredanensis)

Southern right whale dolphin (Lissodelphis peronii)

Striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) (AFMA (Australian Fisheries Management Authority) 2014)

While there were no reported interactions between SPF trawl boats and endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) species reported in 2009–2014, this period of time overlapped with very low effort in the trawl fishery. In the eight years prior to that (2001–2009), there were 184 reported interactions between seals and midwater trawls in the area (over 90% of these occurring in the context of scientific surveys researching interactions with marine mammals), as well as 25 dolphin mortalities in the fishery (Baker et al. 2014). With increased quotas in effect starting in 2017–2018 with a factory trawler joining the Commonwealth fleet, more ETP interactions could result. According to Department of Envrionment and Energy quarterly reports summarizing logbook data, 20 seal and 3 dolphin mortalities have occurred in the fishery in the first two quarters of 2018 (Department of the Environment and Energy 2018).

A new bycatch and discarding workplan for the fishery is expected before the end of 2018. According to the SPF Scientific Panel's 2017 draft advice for fishery management, marine mammal research is a recommended priority for the fishery going forward (SPF Scientific Panel 2017).

The use of an AFMA-approved Seal Excluder Device (SED) is compulsory for all midwater trawl vessels in the SPF. A 2008 study of SEDs on midwater trawl vessels in the SPF recommended that a top opening SED needed to be further examined. Top-opening SEDs were made mandatory in the fishery several years later (ABARES (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences 2017).

For seabirds, vessels must deploy at least one type of physical mitigation measure (tori lines or bird bafflers) at all times while the fishing gear is in the water (ABARES (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences 2017). Some shy albatross and cormorant mortalities have been reported in the fishery in 2016–2018 (Department of the Environment and Energy 2018).

While mid-water trawl fishing gear is recognized as a low-risk gear for sea turtle, marine mammal, and seabird bycatch particularly in waters of Oceania, it is relatively high risk gear for shark bycatch. A number of shortfin mako shark mortalities have been reported in the fishery in 2016–2017 (Department of the Environment and Energy 2018).

Some relevant spatial management measures are also in effect in the fishery, including the Australian sea lion closures and the Coorong dolphin closure.

And starting in 2013, all midwater trawl vessels were required to develop and implement AFMA-approved Vessel Management Plans (VMPs) for seabirds and marine mammals. VMPs must contain measures to minimise and avoid where possible, the discharge of biological material while fishing gear is in the water and to use physical mitigation devices in a particular manner to avoid interactions with seabirds, seals and dolphins (ABARES (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences 2017).

Australia
Beach seines

Last updated on 16 November 2018

According to the fishery's Ecological Risk Assessment, published in 2016, dolphins and seals are sometimes attracted to the fishing activity and can be encircled within beach seines but rarely become entangled. They must be released alive if entangled (Bell et al. 2016).

Last updated on 16 November 2018

"Reporting of interactions with protected species [in log books] is a requirement of most commercial fisheries in Victoria. Interactions are defined as a fishing vessel, gear or operator coming into contact with a protected species, regardless of the outcome. Interaction includes to take, destroy, dispose of and possess. It also includes boat strike or collision with a protected species" (Victorian Fisheries Authority 2018).

Other Species

Last updated on 16 November 2018

The 2018 Assessment of the New South Wales Ocean Hauling Fishery indicated that bycatch is thought to be low in the fishery due to targeted fishing of key species (adult schooling fish) (Department of the Environment and Energy 2018). However, the report also notes that fishers are not required to collect and report information on bycatch besides ETP species.

Last updated on 16 November 2018

The SPF fishery targets three species besides jack mackerel: redbait, blue mackerel, and Australian sardines. All other species that interact with the fishery are defined as bycatch (AFMA (Australian Fisheries Management Authority) 2014).

According to the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, previous monitoring conducted by the Institute has indicated that fish bycatch represented a minor component of the total catch in the SPF fishery (< 1% by weight) (University of Tasmania and Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies 2015).

As mentioned above, an observer coverage target of at least 20% of effort is in effect for the fishery (AFMA (Australian Fisheries Management Authority) 2014).

There do not appear to be management options in place in the event that bycatch changes with increased effort, something that may be needed with effort increasing in the fishery.

Last updated on 16 November 2018

The ecological risk assessment for beach seine gear indicates that "some fish do get meshed/gilled occasionally but gear is designed to herd fish and avoid this occurrence wherever possible. Bycatch is usually alive and released while the net is still in the water" (Bell et al. 2016).

Meanwhile, for purse seine gear, the assessment deems that "discards are very limited in inshore operations, an exception being cobblers (Gymnapistes marmoratus). Industry suggest that occasionally up to 200 kg may be captured in a single deployment. However, the species is very abundant and not captured throughout much of its range. [and] the overall risk is negligible" (Bell et al. 2016).

HABITAT

Last updated on 16 November 2018

Impacts of the fishery on the marine ecosystem were assessed through the TARA process in 2016 (NSW Marine Estate Management Authority 2016) and deemed to pose minimal risk to most of the marine habitats in which it operates.

Last updated on 16 November 2018

The last ecological risk assessment for the SPF was published in 2007, and is due to be updated. In assessing habitat risk from the fishery due to gear contact with the ocean bottom, Daley et al. found the risk to be minor: "Mid water trawl shots occasionally contact the benthos during deployment. Where nets contact the bottom, direct impact will be sustained by habitat (substratum and faunal communities) within the vicinity of the contact....[the] consequence: negligible if shelf waters <60m, however....likely to cause severe localised effect in fragile shelf break habitats (e.g. bryozoan, octocorals), however [impact] over the entire scale of the effort is likely to be minor, unless frequency increases" (Daley et al. 2007).

There are spatial management areas / closed zones in place to protect marine mammals, but not to protect sensitive bottom habitat from trawl impacts.

Data on the types and distributions of benthic habitat in Australia’s Commonwealth fisheries are generally sparse, but the Ecological Risk Assessment of the Effects of Fishing (ERAEF) methodology has been applied to the region in using the most widely available type of data – seabed imagery –to map and classify different deep seabed habitats in Australian Commonwealth waters (Daley et al. 2007).

There is reliable information on the timing and location of fishing due to VMS being required on board all Commonwealth vessels, and also due to the fishery observer program.

Last updated on 16 November 2018

According to the ecological risk assessment for the fishery, risk of purse seining to bottom habitat is negligible: "nets are designed either not to make contact with the substrate or if they do to be as light as possible to avoid hook-ups and gear damage."

As for beach seines, heavily-weighted nets may lead to seagrass being torn free of the substrate, but the inshore areas suitable for beach seine are restricted so the impact, if any, will be localised (Bell et al. 2016).

ECOSYSTEM

Last updated on 16 November 2018

The 2018 Assessment of the New South Wales Ocean Hauling Fishery rated risk of negative ecological interactions as low in the fishery due to targeted fishing of key species (adult schooling fish) (Department of the Environment and Energy 2018).

Last updated on 16 November 2018

Australia has an Ecosystem Risk Asssessment for the Effects of Fishing (ERAEF) framework in place, and periodically assesses fisheries against this framework as a means of integrating Ecosystem Based Fishery Management into its fisheries (Hobday et al. 2011). The SPF fishery was assessed against the ERAEF in 2016–2017, and a new ecological risk assessment for the fishery detailing the results of this assessment is forthcoming. According to preliminary published results, all ecological risk categories were closed out for the SPF at "Level One" (meaning no risks were deemed moderate or higher) (AFMA (Australian Fisheries Management Authority) 2018).

As for ecosystem monitoring, in 2012, heightened awareness of the role of forage fish in marine ecosystems combined with citizen concern about a Commonwealth fishery license holder bringing in a factory trawler to fish its quota to catalyze research into the ecosystem impacts of this fishery. Two science panels were convened and a temporary ban on large trawlers was put into place during the two subsequent years (Lenfest Fishery Ecosystem Task Force 2016).

Smith et al. 2015  details the findings of this work, in which an existing Atlantis ecosystem model was tuned to the particular characteristics of the SPF to evaluate fishery management strategies. The modelling found that depletion of the four main target species in the SPF (jack mackerel, redbait, blue mackerel and Australian sardine) has only minor impacts on other parts of the ecosystem. The research suggested that, "unlike other areas that show higher levels of dependence on similar species, such as in Peru, the food web in southern and eastern Australia does not appear to be highly dependent on SPF target species, and none of the higher trophic-level predators, including tunas, seals and penguins, has a high dietary dependence on the species" (Smith et al. 2015).

Smith et al. 2015 was not the first effort at eosystem monitoring in the fishing area — (Goldsworthy et al. 2013) developed Ecosim and Ecopath models of the west subarea of the fishery and came to similar conclusions that the ecosystem in this area is not highly dependent upon small pelagics.

Last updated on 16 November 2018

The ecological risk assessment for the fishery notes that "target species represent key forage species and play an important role in the functioning of the pelagic ecosystem. As a result, there is potential for adverse impacts on dependent species if catches are too high. Catches of small pelagic species by Tasmanian operators will need to be considered in the context of the Commonwealth Small Pelagic Fishery (SPF).... [if] large-scale operations commence" (Bell et al. 2016).

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 15 November 2018

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

Different components of this stock score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

Different components of this stock score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

Different components of this stock score differently at the fishery level. Please look at the individual fisheries using the selection drop down above.

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2017 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

The most recent estimate for greenback horse mackerel biomass (157,805 MT) from 2014 represents a modest increase from the last estimate generated by a 2002 survey, and quotas were raised almost twofold from 2014–2015 to 2015–2016 on the basis of this estimate, reflecting the Small Pelagic Fishery Science Panel's confidence in stock status (AFMA 2017b). However, there is no reference point in place for biomass in this fishery, and stock status is assessed by government only as "overfished" or "not overfished" by looking at the proportion of the spawning biomass that is being harvested. A 2016 outside review of stock status did deem the stock "sustainable" on the basis of spawning biomass, CPUE trends, and ecosystem modelling information (Stewardson et al. 2016). The score of "≥6" balances managers' favorable assessment of stock status with uncertainty due to absence of a reference point.

As calculated for 2017 data.

The score is 10.0.

This measures the Harvest rate as a percentage of the Target harvest rate U.

The Harvest rate is 0.0200 (Y/SSB). The Target harvest rate U is 0.120 .

The underlying Harvest rate/Target harvest rate U for this index is 16.7%.

ECOSYSTEM IMPACTS

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Bycatch Subscores

There is decent information available for the SFP fishery on ETP bycatch, drawing from fisher logbooks, bycatch-focused surveys, and observers (ABARES (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences 2017). Interactions with ETP species as detailed in logbooks are quantified and published quarterly by the Department of the Environment and Energy (Department of the Environment and Energy 2018). Bycatch of other species is known to be small (<1% of catch), but species composition information is not readily available (University of Tasmania and Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies 2015).

From 2009 through the last year for which fishery status data is available (2017), effort in the fishery was low and few interactions with ETP marine mammals, sharks and seabirds were recorded. It could be safely assumed that the fishery was not impeding the viability or recovery of ETP species.

However, with the quota increasing fourfold in 2018, higher rates of interaction are likely. Therefore, the conclusion from the last ecological risk assessment for the Small Pelagic Fishery conducted in 2007 (at a time of higher catches than in 2009–2017) that the fishery poses high risk to some marine mammals and seabirds may again be relevant (Daley et al. 2007). The question of whether or not ETP species' viability or recovery is negatively impacted likely merits additional study at this time.

The SPF Scientific Panel has noted impacts on marine mammals as a priority research need going forward (SPF Scientific Panel 2017), and a new bycatch and discarding workplan for the fishery is expected soon.

The fishery is not thought to contain any main bycatch species, with bycatch comprising less than 1% of the catch (University of Tasmania and Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies 2015).

Tailored measures such as required seal excluder devices are in place for the purpose of bycatch mitigation (ABARES (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences 2017). Furthermore, a bycatch and discarding workplan specific to the fishery has been developed, although it requires updating (AFMA (Australian Fisheries Management Authority) 2014). Compliance with bycatch regulations has not been flagged as a problem.

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Habitat Subscores

As of the last ecological risk assessment for the fishery, completed in 2007, no extensive mapping of gear impacts on the ocean bottom had been carried out, and it is acknowledged in the assessment that severe localized damage could be done to fragile shelf break habitats (e.g. bryozoan, octocorals) (Daley et al. 2007). However, mid-water trawls have a much lower intensity impact on the ocean floor than bottom trawls.

Data on the types and distributions of benthic habitat in Australia’s Commonwealth fisheries are sparse. The Ecological Risk Assessment of the Effects of Fishing (ERAEF) methodology has however been applied to the region in using the most widely available type of data – seabed imagery –to classify different deep seabed habitats in Australian waters (Daley et al. 2007).

Generally, an updated ecological risk assessment is needed for the fishery, as the last one is now over 10 years old.

In the last ecological risk assessment for the SPF fishery, risk of habitat impacts was assessed and deemed a Level One (low), although confidence in this finding was also indicated to be low due to lack of information (Daley et al. 2007). Nevertheless, among main ecological impacts, this was the only one to be entirely dismissed at Level One. With trawl effort in the fishery increasing starting in 2018, this could now merit further research.

There is not a strategy in place in the SPF fishery to minimize habitat impacts besides that of using a gear that does not have extensive bottom contact (midwater trawls). There are some closed areas in place to protect valuable marine mammal habitats, and compliance is verified through 20% minimum observer coverage and required VMS on board all boats engaged in the Commonwealth fishery (AFMA (Australian Fisheries Management Authority) 2018).

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Ecosystem Subscores

Concern about the participation of a supertrawler in the SPF fishery and ecosystem impacts of fishing for forage fish prompted an AMFA review of the SPF harvest strategy in 2013 with a particular focus on impacts of the fishery on predators that feed on the target species. This work entailed the convening of two expert panels and considerable interaction with stakeholders, and generated substantial reliable information allowing for assessment of the main impacts of the fishery on ecosystem structure and processes (Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 2015); (Smith et al. 2015).

Scientists had sufficient information on likely patterns of fishing, areas and times of year fished, and fishing intensity, as well as the ecosystem reference state, in order to develop a detailed Atlantis model for the ecosystem in which the SPF takes place (Smith et al. 2015), and to consider the potential ecological impacts (particularly: adverse effects of localised depletion and interaction with protected species) of the SPF as part of the expert panel effort to determine whether or not the participation of a supertrawler in the fishery posed a threat to the ecosystem (Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 2015).

(Smith et al. 2015) found that depletion of the four main target species in the SPF has only minor impacts on other parts of the ecosystem. The research suggested that, unlike other areas that show higher levels of dependence on similar species, such as in Peru, the food web in southern and eastern Australia does not appear to be highly dependent on SPF target species, and none of the higher trophic-level predators, including tunas, seals and penguins, has a high dietary dependence on the species" (ABARES (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences 2017).

Australia has broadly applied its ERAEF (Ecological Risk Assessment for the Effects of Fishing) to the Commonwealth-managed fisheries, thus implementing EBFM in its fisheries sector and accounting for all national fisheries and stocks (Hobday et al. 2011). Enforcement and compliance have not been flagged as a problem in the Australian small pelagic fisheries.

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No data available for recruitment
No data available for recruitment
No data available for management quality
No data available for management quality
To see data for stock status, please view this site on a desktop.
DATA NOTES
  • Purse seine Commonwealth catches of common jack mackerel are currently negligible, with all of the Commonwealth Small Pelagic Fishery harvest accounted for by trawlers.
  • Various state fisheries meanwhile accounted for approximately 15% of jack mackerel harvest in 2015–2016 and 30% of 2016–2017 harvest.
  • Public reporting of jack mackerel harvest by the state fisheries has been uneven in the past few years due to small fleet sizes—i.e., negligible harvests in some years and harvest information held confidential in others so as to not reveal the individual harvests of individual boats). Therefore, it is not possible on the basis of publicly available information to indicate for recent years the relative contribution of state fisheries to the overall harvest of jack mackerel (ABARES (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences 2017); (AFMA (Australian Fisheries Management Authority) 2018).

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

SELECT MSC

NAME

South East Australia small pelagic fishery (commonwealth) mid-water trawl

STATUS

MSC Certified on 13 August 2019

SCORES

Principle Level Scores:

Principle Blue mackerel Jack mackerel  Redbait 
Principle 1 – Target Species 85.8 85.8 85.8
Principle 2 – Ecosystem 90.0 90.0 90.0
Principle 3 – Management System 100.0 100.0 100.0

Certification Type: Silver

Sources

Credits
  1. Moore, A., Hobsbawn, P., Summerson, R., Skirtun, M., 2010. 7 Small Pelagic Fishery, Fishery status reports 2010, 99-113 http://data.daff.gov.au/data/warehouse/fishstatus20109abff00101/fishstatus20109abff00101_11a/07_FishStatus2010SmallPelagic_1.00.pdf

  2. Wilson, D., R. Curtotti, G. Begg and K. Phillips, Eds. (2009). Fishery Status Reports 2008: status of fish stocks and fisheries managed by the Australian Government. Canberra, Bureau of Rural Sciences & Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

  3. Moore, A.  and Mazur K., 2016. Chapter 7 Small Pelagic Fishery, Fishery status reports 2016. http://apo.org.au/files/Resource/00_fishstatus2016_1.0.0_lr.pd

  4. Ward TM, Grammer, G, Ivey, A, Carroll, J, Keane, J, Stewart, J & Litherland, L 2015, Egg distribution, reproductive parameters and spawning biomass of blue mackerel, Australian sardine and tailor off the east coast during late winter and early spring, FRDC project 2014/033, FRDC & SARDI, West Beach.

  5. Ward, TM & Grammer, G 2016, Commonwealth Small Pelagic Fishery: fishery assessment report 2015, report to AFMA, SARDI publication F2010/000270-7, Research Report Series 900, SARDI Aquatic Sciences, Adelaide.

  6. Pikitch, E, Boersma, PD, Boyd, IL, Conover, DO, Cury, P, Essington, T, Heppell, SS, Houde, ED, Mangel, M, Pauly, D, Plagányi, É, Sainsbury, K & Steneck, RS 2012, Little fish, big impact: managing a crucial link in ocean food webs, Lenfest Ocean Program, Washington, DC, www.oceanconservationscience.org/foragefish/.

References

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    Greenback horse mackerel - Eastern Australia

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