Pearl perch stock assessment

Chart of Australian east coast stock assessment biomass estimates and key management actions for pearl perch

© Queensland Government

Chart of Queensland and NSW estimated retained catch for Australian east coast pearl perch from 1880 to 2019

© Queensland Government

Why did we assess the pearl perch stock?

Pearl perch are key commercial species in Queensland. Fisheries Queensland conducts regular stock assessments on key species.

In 2022, Fisheries Queensland completed a stock assessment using the most current biological and commercial catch data to:

  • determine the sustainability of the pearl perch stock in Queensland and New South Wales
  • inform management decisions in line with the harvest strategy.

This assessment estimated that pearl perch biomass was between 14% and 46% of unfished levels, and most likely at around 22%. This biomass estimate is below the target reference point for pearl perch of 60%.

Why were the 2022 assessment results different to past assessments?

The 2022 assessment analysed data through to December 2019 and made a prediction for the status of the stock at the beginning of 2020. It included more up-to-date data on catches, as well as new biological data such as fish length and age. The previous stock assessment, published in 2017, only analysed data through to December 2014.

Another difference was that the 2017 assessment stock assessment model was custom built by DAF, whereas the 2022 stock assessment model was constructed within a modelling framework called Stock Synthesis as recommended by the independent Sustainable Fisheries Strategy Expert Panel. Stock Synthesis is one of the most widely used and tested stock assessment tools in the world and is currently used by CSIRO and other Australian fisheries jurisdictions.

Next steps for fishery management

The rocky reef fishery working group provides advice on the management of the rocky reef fishery and includes representatives from commercial fishers, recreational and charter fishers, the conservation sector, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Read information on the working group.

The working group will consider the stock assessment in 2022 and provide advice on appropriate management options for pearl perch for the 2023 fishing season in line with the harvest strategy.

More information

Access the report Stock assessment of Australian pearl perch (Glaucosoma scapulare) with data to December 2019.