Torres Strait Spanish mackerel stock assessment


Chart of Torres Strait Spanish mackerel biomass estimates and key management actions

© Queensland Government

Chart of Torres Strait Spanish mackerel retained catch from 1940

© Queensland Government

Why did we assess Torres Strait Spanish mackerel?

Spanish mackerel are important to the Torres Strait people and fishing culture. They are an economic and traditional food source.

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority commissioned annual updates to the Torres Strait Spanish mackerel stock assessment for three years 2021–2023.

In 2021, Fisheries Queensland and Sea Sense Australia completed a stock assessment using the most current biological and harvest data to:

  • determine the sustainability of the Spanish mackerel stock in Torres Strait waters, and to
  • inform management decisions on commercial quota.

The assessment was overseen by the Torres Strait Finfish Fishery Resource Assessment Group, a committee for the Protected Zone Joint Authority.

The estimated spawning biomass of Spanish mackerel in 2020–2021 was 29 percent of unfished levels at the start of the fishery in 1940.

How was the stock assessment conducted?

This stock assessment combined all estimates of Torres Strait Spanish mackerel harvest, catch rate, fish age and biological data into an annual age-structured population model. The population model calculated numbers of Spanish mackerel by year and age group. The model accounted for annual processes of fish births, growth, reproduction and mortality, to fit the annual trends in catch rates and fish age structures.

Next steps for fishery management

The Torres Strait Finfish Fishery Resource Assessment Group is the research and scientific committee for management of the Torres Strait Finfish Fishery. The group provides advice to the Protected Zone Joint Authority and the Torres Strait Finfish Working Group on the status of target fish stocks.

Read information on the PZJA committees.

The resource assessment and working groups consider new stock assessments each year and provide advice on appropriate management options for Torres Strait Spanish mackerel for the forthcoming fishing season.

More information

Access the stock assessment of Torres Strait Spanish mackerel report.