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Funding boost for fisheries

by Media Services on 31 Dec 2013
Fisheries can expect a boost to funding. .. ©
The Australian government has committed to investing $6.5 million in research projects to ensure Australian fisheries 'continue to be global leaders in science and management'.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, announced the funding which will support 25 new research projects managed by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC). FRDC is funded by the federal government with contributions from the fishing and aquaculture industry.

'This investment will help expand our knowledge and ensure our fisheries management practices continue to improve, our fisheries continue to be sustainable and our reputation as a global leader remains,' Senator Colbeck said.

Senator Colbeck said Australian fisheries were world renowned, not only for high quality produce but also for being among the best managed in the world when it comes to sustainability.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) Fishery Status Report 2012 released in October 2013 showed sustained improvement in the health of Australian fisheries.

The reports showed an improvement in terms of biological status: the number of stocks classified as not overfished increased, while the number of stocks classified as overfished and/or subject to overfishing decreased. The number of stocks with an uncertain biomass status also decreased.

Of the 93 stocks assessed in 2012: 77 were classified as not subject to overfishing (77 in 2011), and 63 were classified as not overfished (58 in 2011); of these, 60 were both not subject to overfishing and not overfished (56 in 2011); and 4 were classified as subject to overfishing (6 in 2011), and 9 were classified as overfished (11 in 2011); of these, 2 were both overfished and subject to overfishing (4 in 2011).

The new research projects will include looking at innovative approaches to better age crabs and lobsters and developing a rapid molecular identification technique to identify eggs and methods to use them for estimating the biomass of a particular species.

The investment will also fund the second volume of the Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks Reports which be expanded to include more species.

'The Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks Reports provide a consistent national reporting framework for major species in Australia. They provide a high level of transparency and consistency in stock status reporting across jurisdictions,' Senator Colbeck said.

Two projects were also funded under the FRDC Aquatic Animal Health Subprogram which will look at development of approaches and molecular tests for detection of important endemic and exotic pathogens.

More at www.fish.gov.au
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