Stock assessment program

By itself, fisheries data can be misleading because many factors influence fish stocks and fisheries (e.g. season can influence catch and weather can influence fishing effort). Misinterpreting data, or only looking at some of the data, can lead to very different opinions about the sustainability of fish stocks. Stock assessments interpret all these factors in a consistent way.

Stock assessments integrate our understanding of ecology, biology, environment, fishing behaviours and other drivers (such as product value) to give us a measure of the health of fish stocks.

They are critical to support evidence-based harvest strategies and fisheries management – stock assessments are scheduled to link with harvest strategy timelines and are typically reviewed every 1–3 years to set fishing effort and harvest targets.

The results also contribute to Status of Australian Fish Stocks reports, to determine if a stock is sustainably fished, overfished or somewhere in between.

How we assess fish stocks

Stock assessments are completed by our specialist fishery scientists, who have skills in mathematical modelling, biological research, statistical analysis and computer science  .

They use a model-based stock assessment, which is a mathematical tool that calculates the status of a fish stock and assesses how these fish will respond to different management procedures. It brings together a large volume of data, including:

  • commercial logbook data
  • recreational harvest estimates
  • biological surveys
  • environmental conditions
  • economic information.

Reports and assessment schedule

Click on the links below for the latest stock assessment reports – you can also access previous reports by searching our eResearch Archive.

The following species are scheduled to be assessed over the next 3 years.

Black jewfish    
Black teatfish   
Blue Swimmer crab    
Common coral trout    
Crimson Snapper    
Dusky flathead    
Eastern king prawn    
Goldband snapper    
Grey mackerel    
King threadfin    
Moreton Bay bug    
Mud crab    
Pearl perch    
Red Emperor    ✔   
Redspot king prawn   
Redthroat emperor    
Saddletail Snapper    
Sand whiting    
Saucer scallop    
School mackerel    
Sea mullet    
Spangled emperor    
Spanish mackerel    
Spotted mackerel    
Stout whiting    
Stripey snapper    
Tiger prawns    
Tropical rock lobster    
White teatfish    
Yellowfin bream   

* Sharks will be assessed by species or species group. New species/species groups will be assessed on a three-year rotational basis.