Catch, Effort and CPUE
Peak catches around 15 tonnes were recorded at the start of the commercial catch time series from 1995/96 until the early 2000s. Considering additional catches in Rock lobster traps (León et al. 2020) and by the recreational sector during this time, total catches likely amounted to values closer to 40 tonnes. Leatherjacket catches have notably declined since then, reaching a minimum of 0.6 t in 2020/21 (Figure below). Most Leatherjacket catch from 2020/21 came from the southeast coast, while previous catches were concentrated more on the northeast and east coasts.
Leatherjackets are also caught by the recreational sector, with catch estimates in recent surveys at a similar level to commercial catches (Figure above). Estimates were 8.2 t in 2000/01 (Lyle 2005), 2.6 t in 2007/08 (Lyle et al. 2009), 2.3 t in 2009/10, 1.8 t in 2012/13 (Lyle et al. 2014b), and 4.9 t in 2017/18 (Lyle et al. 2019).
Both fish trap and gillnet fishing effort have decreased through time (Figure above), both reaching record low levels in 2020/21. CPUE has been fairly consistent over time for gillnets but fluctuating more for fish traps (Figure above).
The full 2020/21 Scalefish Assessment, released Dec 2022, can be found at the link: