Harvest strategies

A harvest strategy specifies pre-determined management actions necessary to achieve ecological, economic and/or social objectives of a fishery.

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For the past two years, Fisheries Queensland has worked with stakeholders to develop draft harvest strategies for most of Queensland’s fisheries.

Fishery working groups, meetings with stakeholders and the Sustainable Fisheries Expert Panel have played an important role in identifying objectives, timeframes, indicators and reference points that form the basis of each harvest strategy.

Harvest strategies for the reef line and spanner cab fisheries have been approved. Draft harvest strategies for the remaining fisheries will be released as soon as possible.

Harvest strategies for Queensland fisheries

Reef line – APPROVED

Find out how we’re managing the reef line fishery so it’s sustainable in the long term.

Spanner crab – APPROVED

Find out how we’re managing the spanner crab fishery so it’s sustainable in the long term.

How harvest strategies work

Harvest strategies provide clarity about the overall fishery objectives, fishery performance indicators, triggers for management action and appropriate management responses/decision rules.

  1. Objectives

    Fishery objectives outline where we want the fishery to be from an ecological, economic and social (triple bottom line) perspective and the time frame to achieve those objectives.

  2. Indicators

    Harvest strategies use data and information to track the performance of the fishery over time.  Such sources of information are known as indicators. These include things like biomass, catch rates, protected species interactions etc.

  3. Reference points
  4. To translate objectives into something tangible, harvest strategies establish reference points for a fishery. Reference points describe desirable and undesirable levels of performance in the fishery.

    Target Reference Points (TRP) is where we want the stock to be and describes a desirable level of performance. If a fishery is performing at or above its Target Reference Point; the fishery may be able to support additional levels of catch or fishing effort.

    Trigger Reference Points (TrRP) is a point where management intervention is needed to move the fishery towards its objective. This may involve taking action to reduce the amount of catch or fishing pressure in the fishery in order to allow fish stocks to recover.

    Limit Reference Points (LRP) describe the point at which the performance of the fishery is considered unacceptable and more drastic management action is immediately required. This could involve significantly reducing the level of catch or effort in the fishery or closing the fishery altogether to allow fish stocks to recover


    Figure 1: Example of target and limit reference points for stock biomass.

  5. Decision rules The decision rules clearly state what pre-determined management action will be taken under certain circumstances. This usually involves adjusting (through quota, management units or bag limits etc.) the catch or fishing pressure in the fishery. By being clear about what action will be taken and when, harvest strategies help remove much of the uncertainty around how a fishery will be managed.

More information

The Queensland Harvest Strategy Policy and Guidelines for Implementing the Queensland Harvest Strategy Policy have guided the development of the harvest strategies by the fishery working groups and Sustainable Fisheries Expert Panel.