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1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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Oceans

Australian fish stocks overfished or subject to overfishing(a)(b)
Graph Image for Australian fish stocks overfished or subject to overfishing(a)(b)

Footnote(s): (a) Year ending 30 June for 2001 and 2003 data, else calendar year data. (b) The total includes 'Uncertain' about whether the fish stocks will be overfished or not.

Source(s): Bureau of Rural Sciences & Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resources Economics, Fishery Status Report 2008

FISH STOCKS

Fishing is the most widespread economic activity in marine ecosystems, and Australia has the world's third largest fishing zone, covering 11 million square kilometres (DFAT 2008). Information regarding the sustainability of fish stocks is, therefore, an important indicator of progress as it outlines the extent to which fishing pressure impacts upon marine ecosystems.

In 2008, 18 of the 98 fish stocks (18%) surveyed in Australian government-managed fisheries were overfished, or subject to overfishing. The number of stocks classified as overfished and/or subject to overfishing has fallen since 2005, when it peaked at 24 out of 83 assessed stocks (29%). The 'Securing our Fishing Future' program was introduced in 2005 to help address the issues of overfishing. This program ceased in June 2010.

Of the 18 stocks classified as overfished or subject to overfishing in 2008, 13 were overfished and 8 were subject to overfishing. Three of the fish stocks (Southern bluefin tuna, jackass morwong and upper-slope gulper sharks) were both overfished and subject to overfishing (ABARE & BRS 2009). The highly migratory Southern bluefin tuna has been classified as overfished since 1992.

Although methods for assessing the status of Australian fish stocks have improved considerably in recent times, a significant degree of uncertainty still underlies the status of many of Australia's fish populations. In 2008, 42% of the government-managed stocks surveyed had not been evaluated in terms of their risk of, or exposure to, overfishing due to inadequate information.

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