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Monday, 24 June 1996
Page: 2090

(Question No. 84)


Senator Kernot asked the Minister representing the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, upon notice, on 27 May 1996:

What details can be provided of:

(a) Commonwealth expenditure into research projects or the number of surveys currently underway that are designed to estimate the breeding habits of various fish species within the exclusive economic zone;

(b) any joint research fisheries projects with industry or the State Government of New South Wales; and

(c) the number of studies undertaken by the Commonwealth to establish total allowable catches for various fish species in the past 5 years.


Senator Parer —As Minister for Resources and Energy, I have portfolio responsibility for fisheries research and development and I am able to provide the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(a) With reference to fisheries resources in marine waters within the outer limit of Australia's exclusive economic zone, the Commonwealth's Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) has been able to identify 80 current research projects funded by it in which issues surrounding the breeding habits of fish species constitute some component. The sum of the total original budgets of these projects comes to some $18.4m, with funds being drawn from allocations over a number of financial years. It is not possible to accurately earmark a proportion of this amount against the components related to breeding habits. The CSIRO Division of Fisheries has estimated that, during 1995-96, it will have spent, from CSIRO funds, amounts of $0.4m, $0.4m and $0.9m respectively on pertinent research projects in the southern bluefin tuna (SBT) fishery, south east fishery (SEF) and northern fisheries. A small number of current projects focusing on breeding habits are receiving funding from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) Research Fund or the Torres Strait Research and Monitoring Program (TSRMP). The total expenditure on these projects is to be under $0.2m.

(b) FRDC has been able to identify 42 current research projects funded by it which are being commissioned or undertaken by the New South Wales Government, the New South Wales fishing industry or both. The sum of the total original budgets of these projects comes to some $8.6m, with funds being drawn from allocations over a number of financial years. CSIRO Division of Fisheries has advised that it is currently involved in cooperative research with New South Wales Fisheries and the New South Wales fishing industry on gemfish and the SEF ecosystem habitat. Total CSIRO expenditure on these projects is of the order of $1m per annum.

(c) From research projects funded by it which have either been completed during the past 5 years or are still underway, FRDC has been able to identify 107 which could have been or could be used to assist in the establishment of a total allowable catch (TAC). A number of these research projects have been carried out by the CSIRO Division of Fisheries, which has advised that, during the past 5 years, it has undertaken 9 studies on SBT, 1 on yellowfin tuna, 6 on the SEF (orange roughy, blue grenadier and sharks) and 8 on northern fisheries (finfish, prawns, lobsters, trochus and beche-de-mer), each for the purpose of establishing a TAC.

AFMA has identified 17 fishery assessment projects which it has funded from its AFMA Research Fund during the past 5 years. Another 2 stock assessment projects with funding from the same source are currently underway, as well as 2 relating to Torres Strait fisheries which are being funded from the TSRMP.

In the Department of Primary Industries and Energy, the Bureau of Resource Sciences produces annual resource assessments of Commonwealth-managed fisheries. These are published under the title Fishery Status Reports, the most recent issue of which refers to 1994.