Catch, Effort and CPUE
Records of commercial catches peaked at almost 35 tonnes at the start of the time series in1995/96. Flounder landings have declined steadily since then, reaching an historical low of 1t in 2015/16 (Figure below). Catch in 2020/21 was 2.7 t, a slight decline from 2019/20. Since the ban on night gillnetting in 2010, Flounder have been caught predominantly using spear (Figure below). Commercial catches and effort have contracted spatially over recent years to Norfolk Bay, the Tamar estuary, and Macquarie Harbour, with catch in the southeast (e.g., Norfolk Bay) taken mostly by spear and catches on the west coast (e.g., Macquarie Harbour) taken mostly by gillnet.
Consistent with the trend in catches, effort for both spear and gillnet has been declining steadily since the mid-1990s (Figure above). Total CPUE for both spear and gillnet generally increased over recent years (Figure above) but underlying regional dynamics are more variable.
Flounder are a relatively important recreational species, and in recent years, catches for the recreational sector have matched or exceeded those of the commercial sector (Figure above). Similar to commercial catches, recreational catches appear to have declined progressively over recent years. Recreational catches were estimated at 15.2 t in 2000/01 (Lyle 2005), 10.1 t in 2007/08 (Lyle et al. 2009), 7.2 t in 2012/13 (Lyle et al. 2014b), and 3.8 t in 2017/18 (Lyle et al. 2019).
The full 2020/21 Scalefish Assessment, released Dec 2022, can be found at the link: