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Discarding, adjustment and incentives: challenges for fisheries management

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M ed ia R elease


3 February 1998

GPO Box 1563, Canberra ACT 2601 Telephone (02) 6272 2000 Facsimile (02) 6272 2001

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Discarding, adjustment and incentives: challenges for fisheries management

‘In principle, an ITQ scheme should improve the economic performance of a fishery by relying on economic incentives to harvest a given fish catch at least cost’, Ms Lindsay Hogan, Senior Research Economist, ABARE, said at OUTLOOK 98 in Canberra today.

Ms Hogan said that Australia has had mixed experience with individual transferable quota arrangements (ITQ). ‘While the ITQ scheme in the southern bluefin tuna fishery has been relatively successful, the ITQ scheme in the south east fishery has not been effective’, she said.

Limited trade in quota, substantial discarding and large shortfalls relative to total allowable catches are factors which have reduced the effectiveness of the ITQ scheme in the south east fishery’, she said.

Dr Jean Chesson from the Bureau of Resource Sciences stressed the need for improved information on fish stocks and their responses to different fishing regimes.

‘Information on the status of a fish stock and how it will respond to different fishing regimes is subject to varying levels of uncertainty’, Dr Chesson said.

‘The challenge for stock assessment is to communicate information so that uncertainty is understood and incorporated constructively into the decision making process.’

Using examples from stock assessments in the south east fishery, Dr Chesson described the sources of uncertainty in stock assessments and the methods used to most effectively communicate the consequences of uncertainty to fishery managers.

Dr Kennelly of the NSW Fisheries Research Institute said ‘after a long history of developing ways to make fishing gear catch more fish, the field of fishing gear technology has had to change its focus because of widespread concern over the incidental capture and discarding of nontargeted species’.

Dr Kennelly headed a successful study into the use of modified fishing gear. The program dramatically reduced bycatch without significantly affecting targeted catch in the New- South Wales prawn trawl fishery.