Catch, Effort and CPUE
Records of total commercial catches of Barracouta peaked in the early 2000s with a maximum of 136 t, but gradually declined from 101 t in 2004/05 to an historical low of 0.4 t in 2015/16 (see figure below). The total commercial catch in 2020/21 was 0.8 t. Trolling and handline are the main fishing methods used to target Barracouta. After the peak in the early 2000s, effort declined and, since 2007/08, has stabilised at a low level (see figure below). CPUE has been relatively stable over the most recent fishing years (see figure below ). However, it is likely that fishers who used to target Barracouta are now targeting other species and, in consequence, catch-based statistics are unlikely to be a reliable indicator of biomass. Catches and fishing effort were traditionally concentrated off southern Tasmania (Emery et al. 2015).
Catches of Barracouta have declined steadily since the mid-2000s, presumably due to a decrease in targeted effort resulting from a lack of market demand as well as possible impacts of environmental change. Low levels of fishing effort mean that catch and CPUE data are unreliable indicators of biomass and stock status. However, historic catches were substantial and, thus, there is insufficient information to confidently classify the stock.
The full 2020/21 Scalefish Assessment, released Dec 2022, can be found at the link: