Australian jack mackerel fishers get huge quota boost
Based on the latest science for jack mackerel (Trachurus declivis, T. murphyi) (west sub-area), the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has increased the annual total allowable catch (TAC) for commercial fishers from 920 metric tons (MT) to 4,190 MT for the 2018-19 season.
Little change was made to the TACs for the remaining target species, including Australian sardine, blue mackerel and redbait, with the new small pelagic fishery (SPF) now underway.
Catch limits for the 2018-19 SPF season take into account the latest scientific research and expert advice to keep the commercial harvest from SPF fish stocks at sustainable levels, said Dr. James Findlay, CEO of AFMA.
“Following a review and consultation with industry, stakeholders and the SPF Scientific Panel, the AFMA Commission has approved new fishing methods in the fishery, including the use of jigging and minor line (rod and reel).
“These new methods are conditional on fishers meeting additional requirements, such as having an AFMA observer on board for the first five trips of the season,” he said.
While the 2017-18 jack mackerel TAC was just 920 MT for the west sub-area, it was set at a much higher 3,600 MT for both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.
This season there are also changes to the regional catch limits, which will apply to all SPF vessels to minimize the low risk of localized depletion of fish stocks, which are food sources for commercial and recreational species like tuna and billfish.
Vessels will still have a catch limit of 2,000 MT per location over a 30-day period, which if reached, requires them to move on to a new location, said Findlay.
The Commonwealth SPF supplies domestic and international markets for human consumption, for use as recreational fishing bait and as fishmeal for the aquaculture industry.