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Sardine Management Needed To Secure Future Tuna Farming

Interested stakeholders and the community are encouraged to have their say on a draft management plan for the South Australian Commercial Sardine Fishery. The Australian tuna catches are a major feed source for the bluefin fattening industry, requiring at least 10 kg of sardines for the tuna to eat in order to grow one extra kg of bodyweight.

Releasing the draft plan  for public consultation, Fisheries Minister Gail Gago said it would provide a new 10-year framework for the management of the $20 million commercial fishery.

“The aim of the plan is to protect, manage use and develop the sardine resource in a manner that is consistent with the principles of ecologically sustainable development,” she said.

“It describes the characteristics of the fishery, details the rules for the harvesting of sardines, allocation of the resource and outlines stock assessment, monitoring, compliance and regulatory arrangements.”

Ms Gago said the draft plan would help protect and conserve resources.

The fishery is managed through an individual transferrable quota system, with a total allowable commercial catch (TACC) set for each year. The draft management plan provides a formal harvest strategy that guides annual TACC decisions at ecologically sustainable levels.

Under the current arrangements the TACC is divided equally between the 14 license holders. The majority of the quota is used as food for the important Southern Bluefin Tuna aquaculture sector.