Commercial Catch Trends
Total annual commercial catches have generally declined (See Total Annual Catch figure below). Scalefish production of the main species (including all species assessed in this report ) shows a decline from more than 1,000 t in the late 1990s to less than 400 t in 2019/20. Historic peaks in catch of >1,700 t were observed between 2008 and 2013, largely due to exceptionally high catches of Jack Mackerel and Gould’s Squid. The combined commercial catch of assessed species in 2019/20 was lower than in the three previous years, but consistent with previous declines to about 400 t in 2013/14 and 2014/15. From 2009/10 onwards, annually assessed species have matched total scalefish production very closely (See Total Annual Catch figure below).
When assessing inter-annual trends within the fishery, it is important to recognise that some species occur periodically in Tasmanian waters and thus availability can differ markedly between years. Therefore, variability does not necessarily reflect changes in stock status. Species in this category include Blue Warehou, Barracouta and Gould’s Squid. In contrast, Banded Morwong, Striped Trumpeter, Bastard Trumpeter, Longsnout Boarfish, Southern Calamari and Wrasse are examples of more ‘resident’ species, with variability in catches then reflecting a possible combination of changes in stock status, management interventions and market demand.