Plenty of fish (48%) should be left in the sea: submission

The Australia Institute Tasmania has called for stronger measures to address depleted fish stocks and prevent future overfishing in a detailed submission on the Tasmanian Government’s Draft Harvest Strategy for Wild Fisheries.

The recommendation of ensuring fish levels stay at 48% of unfished biomass is in line with CSIRO recommendations that guide Commonwealth fisheries strategies.

Other recommendations and key points:

  • Tasmania requires not just a harvest strategy policy, but an integrated approach to managing the state’s waters and coastal environments.
  • Fisheries management is made more difficult because the Tasmanian Government has not published a State of the Environment Report for 14 years, breaking its statutory requirement.
  • Tasmania’s main marine law is currently under review, but the draft Harvest Strategy does not mention the review of the Living Marine Resources Management Act 1995.

“Tasmania is a long way behind other states on managing our oceans,” said Eloise Carr, Director of The Australia Institute Tasmania.

“The current process is a step in the right direction, but there are still gaping holes in Tasmania’s fisheries management.

“For example, it is common practice to have a target for how many fish should be left in the sea, set as a percentage of unfished levels. The current proposal does this but sets the level too low.

“Queensland provides such a reference point for all fisheries, with a goal of 60% by 2027.

“The CSIRO has found a stock biomass target set at 48% of original/unfished biomass is generally appropriate across a range of fisheries. This has been guiding all Commonwealth fisheries since 2007.

“Tasmania cannot afford to get snagged without proper targets and ambitious timelines for achieving them.”

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