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.

Stock Assessment Program Terms of Reference (PDF, 207.9KB)

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 by the end of 2024.

Black jewfish     
Black teatfish   
Blue swimmer crab     
Burrowing blackfish    
Common coral trout    
Crimson snapper     
Dusky flathead     
Eastern king prawn     
Grey mackerel    
King threadfin     
Moreton Bay bug     
Pearl perch     
Prickly redfish    
Red emperor    ✔    
Red snappers    
Redspot king prawn    
Redthroat emperor     
Saddletail Snapper     
Sand whiting     
Saucer scallop  
Sea mullet     
Spanish mackerel     
Spotted mackerel     
Stout whiting     
Tiger prawns    
Tropical rock lobster     
White teatfish