Total Allowable Commercial Catch

The Giant Crab Fishery Management Plan requires that the Victorian giant crab stocks are assessed annually. Stock abundance is evaluated using catch per unit effort (CPUE) as the primary biomass indicator, which is expressed as kilogram per 24-hour pot lift and other factors including the catch size composition and biological information such as growth, reproductive characteristics and mortalities. The results are then assessed against the performance measures set in the Management Plan and then discussed in the Rock Lobster and Giant Crab Resource Assessment Group and with stakeholders at an annual Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) Forum. Recommendations on the TACC for the following season are then made to The Victorian Fisheries Authority.

The performance measures set for the fishery are:

  • A limit reference point – represented by the mean CPUE for the period 1998/99 to 2000/01.
  • A target reference point – represented by 50% of the peak CPUE.
  • A trigger point – which is triggered if the annual CPUE falls below 80% of the limit reference point.

If the CPUE falls below the trigger, the Management Plan specifies that the TACC must be reduced from the level it was set at in the previous season. 

After experiencing a four-year decline in CPUE between 2006/07 and 2010/11, TACCs were reduced and the CPUE in subsequent years has shown a modest improvement.

Figure 1
Figure 1: Catch rate of giant crab (kg/24 hour potlift) corrected for a maximum of 4 days soak, with a slope of 0.38 for all fishers landing > 1000kg of giant crab in a given year and with > 300 days of fishing overall. Dashed red line and solid black line represent limit and trigger reference points, respectively.

Total Allowable Catch Forums

Total Allowable Commercial Catch Forums are held annually, usually in April, and are the principal means by which stakeholders are informed of the biological condition of the fishery and can comment on the evaluation of the status of the stock.  The stock assessment provides an assessment of key performance indicators which are then assessed against the criteria in the decision framework to establish a total allowable catch for the following season.