Oral Presentation Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference 2017

Tailor tales: 18 years of monitoring wild harvest fisheries in Queensland (#28)

Lenore Litherland 1
  1. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Tailor (Pomatomus saltatrix) is a popular food and sports fish found in isolated populations in temperate and subtropical waters around the globe. Off Eastern Australia, tailor has a history as an important species for indigenous, commercial and recreational fishers. In Queensland waters, the commercial and recreational tailor fishery grew throughout the mid 1900s. Increases in fishing effort and reductions in catch by the 1990s raised concerns regarding the sustainability of the tailor stock. A suite of new management arrangements were implemented to rebuild the stock with the aim of achieving long-term sustainability. To assess the efficacy of these new arrangements, a biological monitoring program was implemented in 1999. The goal of this monitoring program, now entering its 19th year, is to acquire biological samples for length and age determination (using age-length-keys) that are representative of the recreational and commercial fishery harvests. The program employs fishery-dependent sampling strategies and successfully samples more than 8000 lengths from over 700 catches and collects over 550 otoliths for fish ageing annually. This presentation provides insights into the challenges encountered in developing and maintaining a long term biological monitoring program. A summary of the recent trends in biological characteristics will be presented and the importance of integrating data from diverse sources to provide context for fishery-dependent biological monitoring results will be highlighted. The long time series of biological data for tailor has been a vital input into periodic stock assessments as well as biennial assessments of the stock’s status at both state and national levels, facilitating the classification of this stock as sustainably fished.