The responsiveness and adaptability of Commonwealth fisheries management to climate change

Danait Ghebrezgabhier(1) and Giulia Porro (2)
(1)Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), PO Box 7051, ACT 2610, Danait.Ghebrezgabhier@afma.gov.au, @azmarinae
(2) Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), PO Box 7051, ACT 2610, Giulia.Porro@afma.gov.au, @loveateverybite

This presentation explores whether tools utilised to manage Commonwealth fisheries allow for adaptive management and sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources in response to climate change.The various management tools used by AFMA have the potential to take into account environmentalfactors that may influence the size and/or distribution of commercial fish stocks. These include management via output controls, temporal and spatial management measures and data collection and monitoring programs.

Whilst the current management system works well, AFMA acknowledges that it has limits and is participating in research to:

  • increase its awareness of the true impact of fisheries on the environment relative to other industries and externalities,
  • identify the environmental variables that drive the distribution of commercial fish stocks and the potential to use predictive tools to monitor their impact over time.

Our presentation will also provide an overview of how:

  • The quota system and the setting of total allowable catches allow for adaptive management and encourage sustainable fishing.
  • The relatively large geographical boundaries of the fisheries that AFMA manages provide industry with the flexibility and space to follow key commercial species.
  • AFMA has data collection programs that could be used or adapted to explore changes in the pattern of fish stock composition and distribution over time.
  • Current and future research investments will allow for the development of predictive tools that will anticipate significant environmental changes and help AFMA develop adaptive fisheries
    management options for a range of environmental scenarios.
  • To determine the weight of evidence/test required to implement adaptive management.

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