The status of species is assessed for each fishing year (jump to Species Status). Assessment is based on information available through previous assessments, with new data on catch, effort and species biology for the most recent fishing year, as well as updated stock assessments by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES). More information on the data and assessment method can be found on the ‘Assessment Model‘ page. We note that the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) and the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Tasmania (NRE Tas) have initiated an ongoing review of data quality control and assessment, which could cause changes to the Fisheries Integrated Licensing and Management System (FILMS) database and stock assessment calculations that are presented in future assessments.
Species status was assigned according to the national stock reporting framework (Sustainable, Recovering, Depleting, Depleted or Undefined). We note that the stock reporting framework adopted here only defines the stock against the limit reference point of whether it is likely to be recruitment overfished or not. Target reference points (i.e., those that correspond to levels of biomass and fishing pressure that are considered to provide for optimal sustainable harvests) remain to be defined. We further note that Banded Morwong assessments are reported separately. This change from previous reporting reflects differences in the period for setting the annual Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for Banded Morwong (based on quota year) compared with routine assessment reporting for other scalefish species (based on financial year). Octopus, catches of which are also reported following another reporting period, are also considered in an independent assessment.
Learn more about what each stock status classification means on our Stock Status Classifications Information Page:
2019/20 Assessment Status
State Assessed Species Status
There is effectively no current commercial fishing for Australian Sardine in Tasmanian waters, with all Developmental Australian Sardine Permits now expired. As such, the current level of fishing pressure in Tasmania is unlikely to cause the biological stock to become recruitment impaired. The species was classified as “Not overfished nor subject to overfishing” by ABARES for 2019/20. Similarly, all Australian stocks are currently classified as Sustainable in the 2020 Status of Australian Fish Stocks report.
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. Low levels of fishing effort mean that catch and catch rate data are unreliable indicators of abundance and stock status. Therefore, there is insufficient information to confidently classify the stock.
Trends in commercial and recreational catches of Bastard Trumpeter suggest record low population levels and that the species is recruitment overfished. The current minimum legal size limit is below the size of maturity such that the fishery is based almost entirely on juvenile fish. Data-limited stock assessment methods suggest that stock recovery under current levels of catch is theoretically possible, but evidence of recovery is lacking.
Eastern Australian Salmon
Eastern Australian Salmon has a long history of exploitation across south-eastern Australia. Low commercial landings in Tasmania in recent years are driven by market demand rather than abundance. The current level of fishing pressure in Tasmania is well below historically sustained levels and thus unlikely to cause the biological stock to become recruitment impaired.
Greenback Flounder (Rhombosolea tapirina) constitute the majority of the commercial catch, which remains low due to the ban on overnight gillnetting and limited market demand. Due to low effort, catch and catch rates are considered unreliable estimators of abundance and the status of the stock remains undefined.
King George Whiting
King George Whiting is a range-extending species that has attracted increasing interest from both the commercial and recreational sector. The current level of fishing pressure on King George Whiting within Tasmanian waters is unlikely to cause the biological stock to become recruitment impaired. Pre-emptive monitoring and management might be required if interest in this species continues to increase.
Several species of Leatherjacket are found in coastal waters around Tasmania. Most likely captured by coastal fisheries are the Brown-striped (Meuschenia australis), Toothbrush (Acanthaluteres vittiger), and Six-spine Leatherjacket (Meuschenia freycineti). Leatherjackets are largely a by-product and not actively targeted due to a lack of market demand. Therefore, catch is not a good indicator of abundance. However, fishing mortality is likely to be low and long-term monitoring of fish assemblages within and outside of Tasmanian MPAs showed no significant difference in Leatherjacket abundance that could be attributed to fishing activity.
Longsnout Boarfish are a by-product species of the gillnet fishery for Banded Morwong, with low catches due to the large minimum legal size. There is insufficient information available to confidently classify this stock.
Due to low market demand, Snook is not actively targeted and current catches are approaching the historically lowest level. Catch rates are considered unreliable to estimate abundance due to the species not being actively targeted. Recent biological analyses indicate that the current level of fishing mortality is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.
Sharp regional increases and subsequent fluctuations in catch and effort in recent years suggest that fishing pressure on Southern Calamari is likely to be too high to be sustainable. Despite closures during part of the spawning season, many operators rely on targeting spawning aggregations, which presents a high risk of recruitment impairment. Aggregation fishing also means that data on catch and catch rates are unlikely to reflect abundance. Data-poor stock assessment results give further reason for concern that fishing mortality might have been excessive and that stocks on the southeast and east coast might be depleted or still recovering, while more recently targeted stocks on the north coast might be depleting.
Both catch and effort data for Southern Garfish showed an overall declining trend in recent years. Catch rates have fluctuated substantially but do show a recently reversing trend back to higher levels. However, given the schooling nature of the species, catch rates are unlikley to be a reliable proxy of abundance. In agreement with fisher perceptions, data-limited stock assessment methods suggest that recovery of the population under current levels of catch is theoretically possible, but empirical evidence for recovery is lacking.
Southern Sand Flathead
Recreational catches dominate landings of Sand Flathead in Tasmania. Fishery independent surveys suggest relatively low abundances of legal sized fish in southeastern and eastern Tasmania where populations are subject to heavy fishing pressure. While the in minimum size limit in 2015 and a reduction in bag limit seemed to reduce catches, current levels of fishing pressure, particularly on females, could still cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.
Following first records of young fish in biological samples in the last two seasons, clear evidence of population recovery of Striped Trumpeter is still lacking. In 2019/20, reference points for low commercial catch, high recreational catch, and high proportion of recreational catch were triggered. Commercial catches are close to the historical low, but total levels of fishing pressure (commercial and recreational combined) could still be too high to allow for recovery, especially since the minimum size limit is below the estimated size at maturity. More data are needed to clarify population status and trends.
Catches, effort and catch rates of Wrasse have remained relatively stable for almost a decade, providing little reason for concern that recent fishing mortality is too high. Uncertainty remains over levels of potential localised depletion, and about the size of the catch taken by rock lobster fishers and used for bait.
Yelloweye Mullet are most abundant in estuarine habitats, where netting is prohibited or restricted, thereby, providing a high degree of protection throughout most of their range. Catches are at low levels, but unlikely to reflect abundance. It is overall unlikely that the stock is recruitment impaired or that the current fishing pressure is high enough that the stock might become recruitment impaired in the future.
Commonwealth assessed species
Blue Warehou is a predominately Commonwealth-managed species that is classified as “Overfished” in the ABARES Fishery Status Reports 2019. It has been classified as Depleted in the 2020 Status of Australian Fish Stocks Report. This species is sporadically abundant in Tasmanian waters. Despite a reduction in Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the Commonwealth fishery to 118 t and the initiation of a stock rebuilding strategy in 2008, there is no evidence of stock recovery.
Common Jack Mackerel
Common Jack Mackerel is a predominately Commonwealth-managed species that is classified as “Not overfished nor subject to overfishing” by ABARES for 2019. Only minor catches of this species have been taken from Tasmanian waters in recent years due to one operator leaving the fishery. Patterns of catch and effort are unlikely to reflect stock status, but the current level of fishing pressure in Tasmania is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.
Eastern School Whiting
Eastern School Whiting is a predominately Commonwealth-managed species that is classified as “Not overfished nor subject to overfishing” by ABARES for 2019. It has been classified as sustainable in the 2020 Status of Australian Fish Stocks Report. Tasmanian catches fluctuate due to market demand, but generally represent only a small proportion of the Commonwealth commercial catch.
Gould’s Squid is a predominately Commonwealth-managed species that is classified as “Not overfished nor subject to overfishing” by ABARES for 2019. Dual-licensed vessels fish in Tasmanian waters, especially in years of peak abundance. The species is characterised by high inter-annual variability in abundance in state waters and generally low catches in recent years.
Jackass Morwong is a predominately Commonwealth-managed species that is classified as “Not overfished nor subject to overfishing” by ABARES for 2019. It is classified as Sustainable in the Status of Australian Fish Stocks Report 2020. Commercial catch and effort in Tasmania are low.
Tiger Flathead is a predominately Commonwealth-managed species that is classified as “Not overfished nor subject to overfishing” in the ABARES Fishery Status Reports 2019. It is classified as sustainable in the 2020 Status of Australian Fish Stocks Report. In Tasmania, Tiger Flathead are caught predominately by the commercial sector. Catches fluctuate substantially, but they typically represent a small proportion of Commonwealth trawl landings.