Global fish stocks report misses the mark

21 November 2021

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam said that a report released on the health of global fish stocks, including in Australia, should be taken with a grain of salt.

“Science and facts are essential to a strong and sustainable fisheries industry,” Assistant Minister Duniam said. 

“Australia’s world-leading management and governance of its fisheries is as a result of our use of the best available science to inform our decisions.

“I am aware of a report from Minderoo Flourishing Oceans, the Global Fishing Index, which unfortunately paints a misleading picture of Australia’s true fisheries performance.

“The report recognises Australia’s world-class fisheries governance, which is underpinned by our commitment to using the best available science to inform our management decisions.

“However, we have serious concerns about the veracity of Minderoo’s data and methodology in assessing fisheries sustainability, given that the report only examined a fraction of Australia’s fish stocks and did not consider Australia’s ecological risk-based management framework. 

“Australia’s sustainable fisheries management is amongst the best in the world, and we have been using the best available science to ensure that our fishing stocks are looked after and cared for. 

“Minderoo appear not to have used the full extent of the scientific evidence that is available. 

“The Status of Australian Fish Stocks Reports, which assesses three times the amount of Australian fish stocks compared to Minderoo’s Global Fishing Index, has assessed Australia’s fish stocks as well-managed, with almost 86% of assessed stocks classified as sustainable or recovering.

“I understand that the report published by Minderoo is the start of a longer process in assessing global fish stocks.

“Hopefully with more time to be able to include crucially relevant data, future iterations of the report will be improved and more accurate. 

“Australia’s fisheries sector is a world leader in evidence-based sustainable management and it would be disappointing to see that reputation called into question by scientific analysis that lacks the relevant detail and rigour.”