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VIET SEAFOOD

Australian Recreational Bluefin Catch To Be Monitored

Commonwealth and state fishery researchers will interview recreational fishers over the next year to estimate the national recreational catch of southern bluefin tuna.

The study will involve researchers from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), state fisheries agencies and research institutions and is expected to be available in early 2015.

Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association chief executive officer Brian Jeffriess said the industry welcomed the survey of tuna catch of the charter and recreational sectors.

“As the large cuts in the commercial catch quotas have led to a major recovery in the tuna stocks, the large increases in charter and recreational catch in one eastern state has become a problem that governments need to address,” he said.

“The quota owned by the current commercial industry has been largely bought by those quota owners, based on government policy.

“Since those quotas were introduced in 1984, the quota was cut from 14,500 tons to a low of 4015 tons in 2011.

“The best approach is to do the surveys, and assess the extent of the problem.”

ABARES acting executive officer Dr. Kim Ritman said southern bluefin tuna was a highly valued species in both the recreational and commercial fishing industry.

“The latest assessments indicate that the southern bluefin tuna stock is currently at a very low level and it is classified as overfished by the ABARES Fishery status reports and the international body in charge of managing southern bluefin tuna has recognized this in adopting a formal management procedure to rebuild the stock,” Dr. Ritman said.

“Recreational catches of southern bluefin tuna are believed to have expanded in recent years, highlighting the need to find out more about recreational fishing and ensure that the management of these activities is aligned with the international Southern Bluefin Tuna Rebuilding Strategy.”

Dr. Ritman said hundreds of recreational anglers ventured off Australia’s southern coast every year in boats ranging from small trailer boats to large cruisers in the hope of encountering large southern bluefin tuna.

The study will involve researchers from ABARES, state fisheries agencies and research institutions and is expected to be available in early 2015.
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