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Positive Research Results On South Pacific Bluefin Australia, May 28, 13

Southern bluefin tuna industry representatives met in Port Lincoln last week to discuss the future of the fishery.

A series of meetings were held between the Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association and CSIRO, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation discussed future research projects the industry are involved in.

Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association chief executive officer Brian Jeffriess said the raw results of the CSIRO aerial survey for this season released to industry last week were pleasing.

“The industry was already aware of our own commercial aerial survey results, and was anxious to see whether these would be confirmed by the CSIRO aerial survey,” he said.

“In general, the early results of all the surveys were very good, far above the historical average, and consistent with the strong recovery of the southern bluefin tuna stock.”

Mr. Jeffriess said the CSIRO also briefed industry on the near-final results of the DNA close-kin project.

The project, which is using technology from the CSIRO and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, matches DNA samples from spawning tuna in Indonesia with young tuna off Port Lincoln.

Mr. Jeffriess said the number of matches leads to an estimate of the spawning stock size.

“Industry is very pleased with the outcomes, which are also consistent with a stronger tuna stock,” he said.

Mr. Jeffriess said another meeting also looked at the first draft of a wild tuna research program for the next two years.

He said although the industry recognized that all the research was important, the fishery was not able to pay for both the proposed research program plus a new monitoring program proposed by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).

“Together with a likely change in the cost recovery formula, they would more than double the annual AFMA levy on industry from $1 million per year to $2 million,” he said.

“The 30 percent decline in the Yen against the Australian dollar means the industry has no flexibility on these issues.”