Catch, Effort and CPUE
Southern Garfish catch in 2020/21 was 17 t, an increase from the previous three seasons’ low catches (Figure below). Most of the catch was taken using beach seine gear in the northeast coast region. The recent increase in beach seine catch follows a general declining trend since 2010/11 (Figure below). After many years of relative stability in Southern Garfish catches of 80-90 t per fishing year, catches fell sharply in 2006/07 and 2007/08. Catches appeared to recover to around 60 t in 2008/09 before the declining trend commenced.
The northeast coast has historically been the region with the highest catch of Southern Garfish, as well as the highest beach seine effort. Dip net effort and catch were highest in the east and southeast coast regions in the earlier years of the fishery, shifting to the northeast coast in the mid-2000s. In 2020/21, the region with the highest catch, effort, and CPUE across gear types was the northeast coast.
Recreational Southern Garfish catches are low compared with commercial catches, estimated at ≤ 2 t in all surveys (Lyle 2005; Lyle et al. 2009; Lyle et al. 2014b; Lyle et al. 2019). Thus, the recreational fishery does not contribute significantly to total catches of this species.
Effort for both major gear types, beach seine and dip net, has been declining steadily and substantially over time, with values in 2020/21 close to the historic low (Figure above). CPUE has fluctuated substantially over time and is unlikely to provide for a robust reflection of abundance or biomass given that Southern Garfish is a schooling species. However, notable trends are evident by a peak for both gear types in 2012/13 followed by a steep decline until 2017/18, which substantiated concerns about Southern Garfish stocks. In 2020/21, the CPUE for beach seine was higher than in the reference year, and dip net CPUE was near equivalent to the reference year (Figure above).
The full 2020/21 Scalefish Assessment, released Dec 2022, can be found at the link: