This project is only currently concerned with the commercial sector; the Pilbara Fish Trawl Interim Managed Fishery, the Pilbara Trap Managed Fishery and the unmanaged line fishery
on the North West Shelf. The trawl fishery has been formally managed only since 1998 and was significantly restructured in 2002/2003, including a seven per cent total reduction in fishing effort following research stock assessments.
Main target species are emperors (Lutjanus and Lethrinus spp.), Rankin cod, goldband snapper, threadfin bream, flagfish and scarlet perch and the combined fishery has a commercial production of 3,300 tonnes valued at $11 million. The recreational component is increasing, with charter vessels targeting red emperor and Rankin cod.
The project determines the status of the fish stocks in the Pilbara region using indicator species such as red emperor, Rankin cod and blue-spot emperor and catch estimates from all sectors. When the region goes through the Integrated Fisheries Management process, more accurate estimates of recreational and charter catches will be needed and sustainable catch levels for the main species will need to be estimated.
This project will:
* Assess the status of the Pilbara fisheries annually, including catches and catch rates for 10 species and determine if a review is needed. * Provide an overview annual report on the status of the Pilbara finfish resources. * Provide scientific advice to management and industry as to the long-term sustainability of the finfish resources and recommend fishing effort quota levels.