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Stout Whiting Fishery Summary : Queensland Total Allowable Catch for 2016

O'Neill, M.F. and Leigh, G.M. (2016) Stout Whiting Fishery Summary : Queensland Total Allowable Catch for 2016. Technical Report. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland.

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Abstract

In Queensland, stout whiting are fished by Danish seine and fish otter-trawl methods between Sandy Cape and the Queensland-New South Wales border. The fishery is currently identified by a T4 symbol and is operated by two primary quota holders.
Since 1997, T4 management has been informed by annual stock assessments in order to determine a total allowable commercial catch (TACC) quota. The TACC is assessed before the start of each fishing year using statistical methodologies. This includes evaluation of trends in fish catch-rates and catch-at-age frequencies against management reference points. The T4 stout whiting TACC for 2014 was adjusted down to 1150 t as a result of elevated estimates of fishing mortality and remained unchanged in 2015 (2013 TACC = 1350 t quota).
Two T4 vessels fished for stout whiting in the 2015 fishing year, harvesting 663 t from Queensland waters. Annual T4 landings of stout whiting averaged about 713 t for the fishing years 2013–2015, with a maximum harvest in the last 10 fishing years of 1140 t and a maximum historical harvest of 2400 t in the 1995.
Stout whiting catch rates from both Queensland and New South Wales were analysed for all vessels, areas and fishing gears. The 2015 catch rate index was equal to 0.85, down 15% compared to the 2010–2015 fishing year average (reference point =1).
The stout whiting fish length and otolith weight frequencies indicated larger and older fish in the calendar year 2014. This data was translated to show improved measures of fish survival at about 38% per year and near the reference point of about 41%.
Together, the stout whiting catch rate and survival indicators show the fishery was sustainable. Earlier population modelling conducted for the year 2013 also suggested the stock was sustainable, but the estimate was only marginally above the biomass for maximum sustainable yield. Irrespective, reasons for reduced catch rates should be examined further and interpreted with precaution, particularly given the TACC has been under-caught in many years.
For setting of the 2016 TACC, alternate analyses and reference points were compared to address data uncertainties and provide options for quota change. The results were dependent on the stock indicator and harvest procedure used. Uncertainty in all TACC estimates should be considered as they were sensitive to the data inputs and assumptions.
For the 2016 T4 fishing year, upper levels of harvest should be limited to 1000–1100 t following procedure equation 1, with target levels of harvest at 750–850 t for procedure equation 2. Use of these estimates to set TACC will depend on management and industry intentions.

Item Type:Monograph (Technical Report)
Business groups:Animal Science
Subjects:Science > Statistics
Aquaculture and Fisheries > Fisheries > Fishery research
Aquaculture and Fisheries > Fisheries > Fishery for individual species
Deposited On:09 Jun 2016 05:27
Last Modified:09 Jun 2016 05:27

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