Stock assessment program

Why do we need stock assessments?

Fisheries Queensland stock assessments inform fishery management and are critical to inform harvest strategies and to support evidence-based fisheries management.

Fisheries data alone is inherently misleading because many factors influence the fish stocks and the fishery. For example, the season can influence the catch and weather can influence fishing effort. Misinterpreting the data, or only looking at some of the data, can lead to vastly differing opinions about the sustainability of the fish stocks. Stock assessments help interpret all these interrelated factors in a consistent way for all stakeholders.

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

This information is used by fishery managers, scientists, fishery working groups and stakeholders to discuss the drivers of stock health, such as catch, and how this relates to the fishery. Nationally, scientists documenting the Status of Australian Fish Stocks use the results as evidence in determining if a stock is sustainably fished, overfished or somewhere in between.

What do they do?

A model-based stock assessment is a mathematical tool to calculate the status of fish stock and assess how these fish will respond to different management procedures.

A stock assessment brings together a large volume of data, including:

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

The data available varies for each assessment and determines the type of stock assessment that is appropriate for a fishery.

Who does stock assessments?

Stock assessments are completed by specialist fishery scientists within Fisheries Queensland in collaboration with other fisheries scientists nationally and around the world. Staff have skills in mathematical modelling, biological research, statistical analysis and computer science. Collectively they have over 50 years’ experience in stock assessments and 150 years of experience in related disciplines.

These staff continuously improve stock assessments by keeping up to date with new research, literature, methods and building national and international networks.

When do we need to do stock assessments?

Stock assessments are scheduled to link with harvest strategy timelines and are typically reviewed every 1–3 years for setting fishing effort and harvest targets.

Where can I find the results?

Our most recent stock assessment reports include:

You can also access copies of our previous stock assessment reports by searching for your fish of interest through our eResearch Archive or call us on 13 25 23 and request an electronic copy.