Australian sardine

Image from Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks 2014

Distribution

Australian sardines are widely distributed in Australian waters. They are found between Rockhampton in Queensland and Shark Bay in Western Australia, including northern Tasmania.

Stock structure

The Australian sardine population is considered to consist of four separate biological stocks for management and status reporting. Two of these stocks occur in Victorian waters. The southern Australian biological stock occurs off South Australia and western Victoria. This is separated by Bass Strait from the eastern Australian biological stock, which is fished in Victorian, New South Wales and Commonwealth waters. These are both shared stocks that span the waters of Victoria and other jurisdictions. Each stock is affected by factors, such as fishing and management, within and beyond Victorian waters. 

The national Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks report 2014 assessed the status of Australian sardine at the scale of these biological stocks.  

Annual catch

Sector

Victorian catch from southern  and eastern Australian stocks

Commercial (2015/16 fishing year)

1252.5 tonnes

Recreational (statewide estimate from 2000/01 national survey)

Not fished 

Indigenous (i.e. 2015/16 customary fishing permits

0 tonnes

Estimated total

≈ 1252.5 tonnes

Stock status

The tables below summarise and explain the status and management of the southern and eastern stocks of Australian sardines based on: 

  1. Stock status: classifications of the biological status of the southern and eastern Australian stocks as at 2013, taken from the national Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) report 2014.  These stocks are affected by fishing and management beyond Victorian waters.
    Read more about the SAFS assessment approach and classification system.
  2. Management settings: overview of current management arrangements in Victorian waters, including any recent changes that may affect stock status.
  3. Risk management category: The Victorian Fisheries Authority's overall, qualitative assessment of current risk to stock status in Victorian waters taking into account management arrangements, based on the best information currently available:

    Red Red - current management measures may not be sufficient to prevent stock depletion
    Amber Amber - current management measures expected to mitigate risk of stock depletion
    Green Green - stock status not of concern under current management

Stock status is based only on sustainability and is for the entire biological stock. Management settings and risk management category also consider the steps taken to address stock status, and only apply to the portion of each stock in Victorian waters. 

Management settings are also influenced by social and economic factors, and can take some time to affect a stock's status. This can depend on biological and environmental factors as well as the type and level of management changes implemented.

Southern Australian stock

Stock status (2013 data)

Key management settings

Risk management category

Classification:

sustainable

Commercial harvest is predominantly managed by limited entry licensing and gear restrictions.

The commercial catch of Australian sardines in Port Phillip Bay will be reduced by the cessation of commercial netting.

Read more here about the fishing methods and rules for Australian sardines in Victoria.

Green

Evidence:

Collectively, the following data provide evidence that this stock  is sustainable. 

Available information does not indicate stock status concerns

Basis for stock status classification (from SAFS 2014)

Biomass assessment

Based on this evidence, SAFS 2014 concluded that the biomass of this stock was unlikely to be recruitment overfished. 

Fishing pressure assessment

Based on this evidence, SAFS 2014 concluded that the level of fishing pressure at the time was unlikely to cause this stock is to become recruitment overfished.

Eastern Australian stock

Stock status (2013 data)

Key management settings

Risk management category

Classification:

sustainable

Commercial harvest is predominantly managed by limited entry licensing and gear restrictions.

Read more about the fishing methods and rules for Australian sardines in Victoria.

Green

Evidence:

Collectively, the following data provide evidence that this stock  is sustainable: 

Available information does not indicate stock status concerns

Basis for stock status classification (from SAFS 2014)

Biomass assessment

Based on this evidence, SAFS 2014 concluded that the biomass of this stock was unlikely to be recruitment overfished

Fishing pressure assessment

Based on this evidence, SAFS 2014 concluded that the level of fishing pressure at the time was unlikely to cause this stock is to become recruitment overfished.

Read more here about the assessment of Australian sardine stock status as at 2013 in the national Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) report 2014.