4613.0 - Australia's Environment: Issues and Trends, 2007
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 11/01/2008
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Status of fish stocks
Australia’s coastal and marine regions support a large variety of species, many of which are only found in this country’s waters. Amongst the 97 stocks (species or groups of species) that are in Commonwealth-managed fisheries, the following trends are emerging:
The number of stocks classified has increased since 1992. The fisheries included in the graph exclude those where state or territory government agencies have primary management responsibility, for example, the Norfolk Island Fishery.
Status of fish stocks managed by the Australian GovernmentIllegal fishing is an added pressure on some fisheries and fish species. The number of fishing vessels apprehended for illegal fishing increased by 250% between 1999 and 2005. Patagonian Toothfish in the Southern Ocean and species of shark in northern waters are the worst affected.
(a) For financial year 2000-01.
(b) For financial year 2002-03.
Source: Bureau of Rural Sciences, Fishery Status Report, 2006.
Apprehensions for illegal fishing, number each year
Source: 2006 Australian State of the Environment Committee, Australia State of the Environment 2006, Department of the Environment and Heritage, Canberra.
Efforts to preserve Australia’s marine environment include the establishment of a system of protected areas and guidelines to select and manage protected areas.
Protected Areas are not the only mechanism for conserving biodiversity but they are an important element of the overall approach.
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) defines a protected area as: "An area of land and/or sea especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, and managed through legal or other effective means".
In 1994, Australia adopted the IUCN definition of a protected area and the internationally recognised IUCN six level system of categories used to describe the management intent as basis for documenting Australia's various types of protected areas. The six categories are:
The total number of marine parks and protected areas in Australia and its external territories has increased in number from 148 (and nearly 39 million hectares) in 1997 to 212 in 2004 to encompass nearly 72 million hectares.
MARINE PARKS AND PROTECTED AREAS, Australia and external territories
Note: Includes marine, national oceanic islands & external territory protected area IUCN
Source: Department of the Environment and Heritage, Summary of Protected Areas <http://www.environment.gov.au/parks>, last viewed 7 August 2007