New report highlights status of Australian fish stocks

The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation’s has released the sixth edition of its Status of Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) report.

More than 100 Australian fisheries scientists collaborated to produce the comprehensive study, which provides valuable insights into the health of 155 fish species, encompassing 503 stocks and approximately 90 per cent of all commercially fished species in Australia.

The SAFS report paints a reassuring picture, with the vast majority of Australia’s assessed fish stocks being considered sustainable and in a healthy state.

Overall, 85 per cent of assessed stocks are classified sustainable or recovering.

The report utilises a standardised framework to assess fish populations and fishing pressure to support the long-term viability of these vital resources and their ecosystems. Findings are expressed in a simple traffic-light system to indicate if a species is Sustainable, Recovering, Depleting, or Depleted.

In total, 155 species were reviewed for the 2024 Reports, with seven new species added, including Painted Sweetlips, Redbait, Redspot Emperor, Sandfish, Shortspined Sea Urchin, Striped Marlin and Western Yellowfin Bream.

Of the 390 stocks assessed throughout Australia, 85 per cent were classified as either “sustainable” or “recovering”.

There were 74 stocks classified as undefined and a further 39 classified as negligible. The undefined stock classification does not necessarily mean that the stock is at increased risk; it means that there is limited or conflicting information available to undertake the assessment. Stocks classified as negligible are unlikely to be at risk due to their very small size.

This landmark, independent report, is scientifically rigorous and reliable with each stock being anonymously peer-reviewed by at least one of the 40-plus independent expert reviewers who assessed the content produced by 118 scientists.

You can find out more here.