Coral Sea Fishery

Chapter 3: Coral Sea Fishery

T Emery, F Helidoniotis and AH Steven

FIGURE 3.1 Area fished within the Coral Sea Fishery, 2017–18

TABLE 3.1 Status of the Coral Sea Fishery
Status20172018Comments
Biological statusFishing mortalityBiomassFishing
mortality
Biomass 
Black teatfish (Holothuria whitmaei)Not subject to overfishingNot overfishedNot subject to overfishingNot overfished

Catch in 2017–18 is less than the plausible sustainable yield and therefore unlikely to affect stock status.

Prickly redfish (Thelenota ananas)Not subject to overfishingNot overfishedNot subject to overfishingNot overfished

Catch in 2017–18 is less than the plausible sustainable yield and therefore unlikely to affect stock status.

Surf redfish (Actinopyga mauritiana)Not subject to overfishingNot overfishedNot subject to overfishingNot overfished

Catch in 2017–18 is less than the plausible sustainable yield and therefore unlikely to affect stock status.

White teatfish (Holothuria fuscogilva)UncertainUncertainUncertainUncertain

Minimal catch in 2017–18 but no current assessment to determine fishing mortality or biomass status.

Other sea cucumber species (~11 species)Not subject to overfishingUncertainNot subject to overfishingUncertain

Minimal catch in 2017–18 but no current assessment to determine biomass status.

Aquarium Sector (>500 species)Not subject to overfishingNot overfishedNot subject to overfishingNot overfished

Catch in 2017–18 and for previous years likely to represent a small proportion of the estimated overall population size and therefore unlikely to affect stock status.

Tropical rock lobster (Panulirus ornatus)Not subject to overfishingNot overfishedNot subject to overfishingNot overfished

No catch in 2017–18; historical catch is less than the plausible sustainable yield.

Line and Trap Sector (numerous finfish and shark species)UncertainUncertainUncertainUncertain

Species-specific estimates of maximum sustainable yield are uncertain due to changes in species composition; no current assessment to determine biomass status.

Trawl and Trap Sector (numerous finfish, shark and crustacean species)Not subject to overfishingUncertainNot subject to overfishingUncertain

No catch in 2017–18; no current assessment to determine biomass status.

Economic status

Estimates of net economic returns are not available. Catch in the Aquarium Sector increased in 2017–18; however, the economic performance of this sector is uncertain because of a lack of economic information. Catch and effort in the Sea Cucumber Sector decreased in 2017–18, whereas catch and effort in the Line and Trap Sector increased relative to the previous year. The trend in economic performance for these sectors in 2017–18 is uncertain.

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3.1 Description of the fishery

Area fished

The Coral Sea Fishery (CSF) extends from Cape York to Sandy Cape, Queensland (Figure 3.1). It is bounded on the east by the Australian Fishing Zone and on the west by a line 10–100 nautical miles east of the eastern boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Fishing methods and key species

The CSF is a multispecies, multigear fishery targeting a variety of fish, sea cucumbers and crustaceans. Fishing methods include hand collection, demersal line, dropline, trotline, traps and trawl. Several separate fisheries existed in the Coral Sea before their integration into the CSF, including the East Coast Deepwater Finfish Fishery, the East Coast Deepwater Crustacean Trawl Fishery and the North Eastern Demersal Line Fishery.

Management methods

Management of the CSF involves both input (fishing effort) and output (catch) controls, including limited entry, total allowable catches (TACs), spatial closures, move-on provisions, size limits and catch-and-effort triggers, which are used to initiate further analysis and assessment. The harvest strategies for the sectors recognise the low effort and diverse nature of the fishery, and this is taken into account in assessing their performance. ABARES analysed harvest levels in the Sea Cucumber, Lobster and Trochus, Aquarium, and Line and Trap sectors of the CSF (Chambers 2015; Larcombe & Roach 2015; Leatherbarrow & Woodhams 2015; Woodhams, Chambers & Penrose 2015). This work, part of the Reducing Uncertainty in Stock Status (RUSS) project, investigated current and historical catches, and indicators of population size to evaluate stock status.

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is reviewing the harvest strategies of the Aquarium, Line and Trap, and Trawl and Trap sectors. The Aquarium Sector Harvest Strategy is expected to be finalised for implementation in mid to late 2019. The Line, Trap and Trawl Harvest Strategy is expected to be finalised in 2019 and implemented in time for the 2020 season. It is expected that the updated harvest strategies will more closely identify the key commercial species for each sector and revise associated catch triggers to monitor catches. Given the lack of fishing for lobster and trochus, and minimal activity in the Sea Cucumber Sector, these harvest strategies are not currently being reviewed.

Fishing effort

In 2017–18, eight vessels were active in the fishery: five in the Line and Trap Sector, two in the Aquarium Sector and one in the Sea Cucumber Sector.

Catch

Approximately 64.7 t of fish products (excluding the Aquarium Sector, where catch is recorded as the number of individuals) was taken in the CSF during 2017–18, representing an increase from the 52.8 t taken in the 2016–17 season (Table 3.2). Most of this catch (63.6 t) was finfish.

TABLE 3.2 Main features and statistics for the CSF

Fishery statistics a

2016–17 fishing season

2017–18 fishing season

Stock

TAC (t) or catch trigger

Catch
(t)

GVP
(2016–17)

TAC
(t)

Catch
(t)

GVP
(2017–18)

Aquarium Sector

40,000 individuals b

26,811 individuals

Confidential

40,000 individualsb

36,678 individuals

Confidential

Black teatfish

1

0.08

Confidential

1

0.06

Confidential

Greenfish and lollyfish

10

0

0

10

0

0

Other sea cucumbers

10

0

0

5

0.01

Confidential

Prickly redfish

20

0.32

Confidential

20

0.33

Confidential

Sandfish

1

0

0

1

0

0

Surf redfish

10

0

0

10

0.04

Confidential

White teatfish

4

2.4

0

4

0.58

Confidential

Total sea cucumbers

150

2.8

Confidential

150

1.02

Confidential

Tropical rock lobster

30 b

0

0

30 b

0

0

Trochus

30 b

0

0

30 b

0

Confidential

Line, trap and trawl operations (numerous finfish and shark species)

49.9

Confidential

63.6

Confidential

Total fishery

52.8 c

Confidential

64.7 c

Confidential

Fishery-level statistics

Effort

Sea Cucumber: 96 dive-hours
Lobster: 0 dive-hours
Aquarium: 1,581 dive-hours
Line and Trap, and Trawl and Trap: 147,204 hooks, 160 lines set, 0 trap lifts, 0 trawl-hours

Sea Cucumber: 38 dive-hours
Lobster: 0 dive-hours
Aquarium: 2,204 dive-hours
Line and Trap, and Trawl and Trap: 385,616 hooks, 187 lines set, 0 trap lifts, 0 trawl-hours

Fishing permits

16 fishing permits across the Line and Trap (8), Trawl and Trap (2), Sea Cucumber (2), Aquarium (2), and Lobster and Trochus (2) sectors

16 fishing permits across the Line and Trap (8), Trawl and Trap (2), Sea Cucumber (2), Aquarium (2), and Lobster and Trochus (2) sectors

Active vessels

9

8

Observer coverage

Sea Cucumber: 100%
Lobster: 0
Trochus: 0
Aquarium: 0%
Line and Trap, and Trawl and Trap: 5.6%

Sea Cucumber: 0%
Lobster: 0%
Trochus: 0%
Aquarium: 0%
Line and Trap, and Trawl and Trap: 10.6%

Fishing methods

Hand collection (includes barbless hooks and line, scoop, cast and seine nets), with or without the use of breathing apparatus; line (demersal longline, dropline and trotline); traps and trawl (finfish and crustacean)

Primary landing ports

Bowen, Innisfail, Mooloolaba (Queensland)

Management methods

Input controls: limited entry, spatial closures
Output controls: catch triggers, size restrictions, TACs for sea cucumbers
Other: move-on provisions

Primary markets

Domestic: fish products—fresh, frozen; aquarium species—live
International: South-East Asia—dried sea cucumber (bêche-de-mer); worldwide—live aquarium species

Management plan

Management arrangements booklet 2018–19—Coral Sea Fishery (AFMA 2018)

a Unless otherwise indicated, fishery statistics are provided by fishing season, which matches the financial year (1 July – 30 June). Value statistics are provided by financial year. b Trigger limits. c Total catch weight excludes Aquarium Sector catch.
Notes: GVP Gross value of production. TAC Total allowable catch. – Not applicable.

3.2 Biological status

Sea Cucumber Sector

Stock structure

Primary target species in the Sea Cucumber Sector include black teatfish (Holothuria whitmaei), white teatfish (H.fuscogilva), surf redfish (Actinopyga mauritiana) and prickly redfish (Thelenota ananas). Limited information is available on the stock structure of these four species. For management purposes, each species is assumed to be a single biological stock. Another dozen sea cucumber species have either been taken or could potentially be taken in the fishery, should a market arise (Woodhams, Chambers & Penrose 2015). The stock structure of these other sea cucumber species is unknown. Given the lack of information on stock structure, status is determined for each stock at the fishery level.

Catch history

Permit holders also operate in the Queensland state-managed sea cucumber fishery. Consequently, catch and effort applied in the CSF has been sporadic through time because the state fishery is more accessible. Catch of sea cucumbers peaked at 49 t in 2000–01. Following a marked decline in catch and catch rate of black teatfish on some reefs, annual catch limits were reduced. Since 2003–04, the annual sea cucumber catch has fluctuated between 0 t and 9.2 t. Annual catches since 2007–08 have generally been less than 3 t, with 1 t recorded in 2017–18.

Stock assessment

Thirteen species or species groups have been reported in historical catches from the Sea Cucumber Sector, but no formal quantitative stock assessment of any species has been done.

Research by ABARES estimated biomass using a habitat-based approach to determine stock status for black teatfish, white teatfish, surf redfish and prickly redfish in 2012 (Woodhams, Chambers & Penrose 2015). Estimates of habitat area were made from a geomorphological classification undertaken as part of the Millennium Coral Reef Mapping Project (Andréfouët et al. 2005), and population densities were derived from survey data collected from the Lihou Reef and Coringa–Herald national nature reserves (Ceccarelli et al. 2008; Oxley et al. 2003, 2004). Average animal weights from commercial catch data were used to estimate biomass, and surplus production models were used to estimate maximum sustainable yield (MSY).

Stock status determination

Stock status is evaluated using outputs of the surplus production models and catch, which provide an estimate of biomass in 2010 as a proportion of biomass at the start of the assessment period (1997). Using an estimate of median biomass for black teatfish and prickly redfish, total biomass in 2010 exceeded 99% of biomass at the start of the assessment period. Since this estimate, catches have remained low, not exceeding the estimate of MSY. As a result, black teatfish and prickly redfish are classified as not overfished and not subject to overfishing.

Catches of surf redfish have remained low—only 0.04 t was recorded in 2017–18—and well below historical peaks that exceeded 4 t per season. Given that catches of surf redfish have been less than the median estimate of MSY (879 kg) for 16 of the 20 seasons since 1997–98 (including the 2017–18 season), surf redfish is classified as not overfished and not subject to overfishing.

Catch of white teatfish decreased from 2.4 t in 2016–17 to 0.6 t in 2017–18 and continues to remain well below the 1999–2000 historical peak of 19.7 t. As a result of data limitations, a plausible initial biomass estimate could not be established for white teatfish, and the status of the stock is uncertain with respect to both biomass and fishing mortality. Since stock status classification is at the fishery level, caution is required when considering status at the level of an individual reef. Historical catch at some reefs has been high, and effects of this reef-level catch should be considered further.

Given the lack of stock assessments of the group of other sea cucumber species, the biomass status for this multispecies stock is classified as uncertain.Since there was minimal catch of other sea cucumber species in 2017–18, the stock is classified as not subject to overfishing.

Aquarium Sector

Stock structure

While a large number of species are taken by the Aquarium Sector of the CSF, there is currently no defined or easily discernible target species. As such, a single fishery-level stock is assumed for the purposes of status determination.

Stock assessment

The ABARES assessment of the Aquarium Sector (Leatherbarrow & Woodhams 2015), based on data up to the 2008–09 fishing season, indicated that fishing in the sector was unlikely to be having an adverse impact on the stock. Under current permit conditions, operators can only fish about 7% of suitable habitat within the CSF in any given year. Around 35% of the suitable habitat in the fishery is fully protected within the Coringa–Herald and Lihou Reef national nature reserves (Figure 3.1). Investigation of annual extraction rates for key commercial fish families suggests that historical extraction rates have been very low (Leatherbarrow & Woodhams 2015). Furthermore, a species-specific risk assessment suggests low or very low risk to the species harvested in the fishery (Leatherbarrow & Woodhams 2015).

Since this assessment, there have been no substantial changes to catch levels. In 2017–18, the catch increased from 26,811 to 36,678 individuals. Although this catch was the highest of the last five years, it remains around the historical average and represents a small proportion of the estimated population sizes for species groups in the CSF (Leatherbarrow & Woodhams 2015). Consequently, it is unlikely to have a detrimental impact on the stock.

The harvest strategy for the Aquarium Sector is being revised in 2019 after consultation with industry, scientists and relevant government agencies, and informed by the work undertaken by ABARES as part of the RUSS project in 2015 (Leatherbarrow & Woodhams 2015). AFMA plans to implement the revised harvest strategy early in the 2019–20 fishing season.

Stock status determination

Based on the most recent assessment (Leatherbarrow & Woodhams 2015) and recent fishing activity levels, the Aquarium Sector stock is classified as not overfished and not subject to overfishing.

Tropical rock lobster

Tropical rock lobster

Line drawing: FAO

Stock structure

Tropical rock lobster (Panulirus ornatus) populations in the Coral Sea, northern Queensland (Crayfish and Rocklobster Fishery) and Torres Strait are thought to comprise a single biological stock, as a result of the mixing of larvae in the Coral Sea (Pitcher et al. 2005). Stock assessments have only been made on subcomponents of this biological stock (Keag, Flood & Saunders 2012). Status is determined for the single stock at the fishery level.

Catch history

Historical catch records from the hand collection sector in the Coral Sea suggest that at least two species have been landed. Tropical rock lobster has been the main species caught, with smaller quantities of painted spiny lobster (P. versicolor) also recorded (Chambers 2015). Catches of tropical rock lobster ranged from less than 200 kg to more than 2 t per year between 2000 and 2004. Annual catches have been less than 2 t since 2005, and no lobster has been caught in the dive sector since 2006–07.

Stock assessment

No quantitative stock assessment has been undertaken on Coral Sea tropical rock lobster. As a result of limited targeting of lobster in the Coral Sea, insufficient information is available from logbook data to estimate stock size or sustainable yields. However, when the number of reefs, the potential reef area in the CSF, and the pattern of catch and effort recorded in fisher logbooks are considered, it is likely that none of the major reefs in the CSF have ever been extensively fished. Extrapolated estimates of lobster density on Coral Sea reefs, inferred from catch rates, suggest that lobster abundance is likely to be many times higher than would be required to support the total historical catch of less than 10 t (Chambers 2015). Consequently, current fishing activity in the sector is unlikely to be having an adverse impact on the stock (Chambers 2015).

Stock status determination

Based on the number of reefs, the potential reef area and low levels of fishing effort, the tropical rock lobster stock is classified as not overfished.Lobster was not harvested in the 2017–18 season, and the stock is classified as not subject to overfishing.

Line and Trap, and Trawl and Trap sectors

Stock structure

While a large number of species are taken in these sectors (noting that there has been not, trap or trawl catch for a number of years), there is currently no defined or discernible target species. As such, a single fishery-level stock is assumed for each sector for the purposes of status determination.

Catch history

The total landed catch across four different fishing gears was 63.6 t in 2017–18, which was an increase from 49.9 t in 2016–17. A total of 68% of the catch was taken using demersal longline (43.6 t), 5% using rod and reel (3 t), 20% using mechanised handline (12.5 t) and 7% using dropline (4.5 t).

No trap effort has been recorded since 2010–11, and no trawl effort has been recorded since 2006–07. The number of hooks deployed in auto-longline and dropline methods substantially increased in 2017–18 to 385,616, up from 147,204 in 2016–17, which represented the highest effort since 2012–13.

Stock assessment

The Line and Trap, and Trawl and Trap sectors take a wide variety of finfish, shark and, historically, crustacean species (using trawl gear). There are no formal single-species stock assessments for any of the species taken in these sectors. In 2012, ABARES used a multispecies approach that considered historical catch levels and conservative yield estimates to evaluate stock status (Larcombe & Roach 2015). The work summarised catch and effort across sectors, and species taken by line-and-trap operations. Three separate species assemblages were considered: a deep assemblage, a reef assemblage and a shark assemblage.

In 2017, the yield scenarios for some species in the deep assemblage were revised based on new natural mortality (M) estimates (Wakefield et al. 2015; Williams et al. 2015) and changes in species composition, leading to a reduction in both species-specific and deep assemblage MSY estimates. It was also noted that 0.3 was an appropriate overarching exploitation constant to use for the CSF deepwater scalefish assemblage (Fry, Brewer & Venables 2006; Kirkwood, Beddington & Rossouw 1994). The harvest strategy for the line, trawl and trap sectors of the CSF is currently being updated.

At the fishery level, the total line catch in 2017–18 (63.6 t) was higher than the most conservative (low biomass and lowest exploitation constant) revised estimate of all-species sustainable yield (31.5 t), but lower than the estimate for medium biomass and lowest exploitation constant (90.2 t) (Larcombe & Roach 2015). In 2017–18, flame snapper (Etelis coruscans) constituted approximately 74%, 56% and 52% of the auto-longline, dropline and mechanised handline catch, respectively, with a total of 41.2 t caught—an increase of 16.1 t from 2016–17. In 2017–18, rosy snapper (Pristipomoides filamentosus) constituted approximately 5%, 1%, 14% and 78% of the auto-longline, dropline, mechanised handline, and rod-and-reel catch, respectively, with a total of 6.4 t caught—a decrease of 5.8 t from 2016–17. In 2017–18, ruby snappers (Etelis spp.) constituted approximately 5%, 6% and 7% of the auto-longline, dropline and mechanised handline catch, respectively, with a total of 3.2 t caught—an increase of 0.7 t from 2016–17.

In some fishing seasons, sharks have been a large component of the total catch for these sectors—for example, blacktip sharks (Carcharhinus spp.) were more than 50% of the total line catch in 2005–06. However, no data are available to evaluate the effect of this harvest on shark populations in the CSF or the effect on these species throughout their distributions. Therefore, it is difficult to draw conclusions about the biomass status of sharks in these sectors. However, the line catch of sharks has been low (less than 400 kg) for the past decade, and, despite a small increase in the previous two years (689 kg in 2016–17 and 852 kg in 2017–18), due to increased use of mechanised handlines, current catches are unlikely to constitute overfishing.

Although trawling has contributed a large proportion of the total catch from the fishery in some years, no trawl operations have been reported in the CSF since the 2006–07 season. Trawlers in the CSF have historically targeted finfish and crustaceans. ABARES did not consider any finfish or crustaceans taken by trawling (Larcombe & Roach 2015), and limited information is available on the sustainability of harvest of these species groups within the fishery.

Stock status determination

The line catch in 2017–18 was within the MSY estimate for medium biomass and lowest exploitation constant (90.2 t) for the combined deepwater assemblage. However, uncertainty in species-specific estimates of MSY remain, given significant shifts in the species composition of catches during the past 10 years. Fishing effort has spatially contracted and substantially increased in recent years to target flame snapper, and the reliability of the yield estimates for individual species or at the scale of single reefs is questionable. Therefore, fishing mortality in the Line and Trap Sector is classified as uncertain. Because there was no effort in the Trawl and Trap Sector, it remains classified as not subject to overfishing.

Although it is unlikely that the primary commercial finfish that make up the catch of line-and-trap operations are overfished, uncertainty remains about the effect of historical fishing on several low-productivity finfish species, and on sharks and other species that were historically caught in trawl operations. Therefore, the biomass of both the Line and Trap, and Trawl and Trap sectors is classified as uncertain.

3.3 Economic status

Key economic trends

The Aquarium Sector is likely to have contributed most of the value of the CSF in recent years. The sector’s gross value of production is difficult to estimate because catch is reported as the number of fish rather than the weight of fish. As well, prices are different for different species, and prices of individual fish vary with sex, colour, size and age. A large proportion of this sector’s catch is exported and traded in the United States; as a result, the value of production is influenced by movements in the exchange rate.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics records the exports of live Australian ornamental fish species (with no distinction made between marine and non-marine species). In 2016–17, these exports were valued at $2.4 million and increased to $3 million in 2017–18. Exports from Queensland accounted for 77% in 2016–17 and 63% in 2017–18 of total live Australian ornamental fish exports. It is not possible to determine the CSF’s contribution to this total. The Queensland Marine Aquarium Fish Fishery is larger than the CSF in terms of vessel numbers (DEEDI 2010) and is likely to make a larger contribution to total exports than the CSF. Total catch in the CSF increased by 37%, from 26,811 individuals in the 2016–17 season to 36,678 individuals in 2017–18. In the same period, effort increased by 39%, from 1,581 dive-hours in 2016–17 to 2,204 dive-hours in 2017–18. The lack of economic data available for this sector makes it difficult to determine the trend in economic performance.

The sea cucumber market is mostly driven by China’s demand for bêche-de-mer. Most sea cucumber is exported to Hong Kong and then redistributed to mainland China (Purcell, Williamson & Ngaluafe 2018). In 2016–17, 91% of sea cucumber from Australia was exported to Hong Kong, increasing to 93% in 2017–18, although Hong Kong imports of sea cucumber are declining (UN Comtrade 2019).

The CSF has a high degree of latency in sea cucumber catch (all species); in 2016–17, latency was 96% and in 2017–18 it increased to 99%. The high degree of latency and decreasing catch in the CSF is likely explained by two factors. First¸ the CSF is further from shore than the East Coast Sea Cucumber Fishery, where sea cucumbers may be more readily accessible and fishing costs probably less. Second, uncertainty around the Chinese luxury seafood market has likely caused catch to vary.

No tropical rock lobster or trochus was caught in the 2016–17 and 2017–18 fishing seasons, and therefore these sectors did not generate net economic returns (NER).

Line operations made up 95% of total catch in the CSF in the 2016–17 fishing season, excluding the Aquarium Sector. Total catch in the fishery increased by 12 t in 2017–18, of which 98% was contributed by line operations, indicating that the Line and Trap Sector is the most profitable in the CSF (excluding the Aquarium Sector). The improvement in catch coincides with a large increase in effort, potentially indicating higher costs. The trend in NER for the Line and Trap, and Trawl and Trap sectors is uncertain.

FIGURE 3.2 Real GVP for the CSF (excluding the Aquarium Sector), 2007–08 to 2017–18

Note: GVP Gross value of production.

Management arrangements

The CSF is managed through a range of input controls and output controls. A low-cost approach to management is likely to be appropriate in view of the fishery’s relatively low fishing effort.

Performance against economic objective

The CSF is a relatively data-poor fishery, and its performance against the objectives of the Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy (Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 2018) is difficult to assess. Given the lack of data, it is difficult to set management controls (for example, TACs and trigger levels) that demonstrably meet the economic objective of maximising NER.

A lack of information about the mix of fish caught in the Aquarium Sector means that assessing economic performance of the fishery is difficult. The increase in catch (from 26,811 individuals in 2016–17 to 36,678 individuals in 2017–18) is associated with an increase in dive effort (from 1,581 hours in 2016–17 to 2,204 hours in 2017–18). As a result, the trend in economic performance is uncertain.

The existence of undercaught TACs and latent effort in the sea cucumber, tropical rock lobster and trochus sectors of the fishery suggests that fishers have little incentive to participate in these sectors, reflecting expectations of low profits. While there is a high degree of uncertainty, the Line and Trap Sector is likely to have low NER. There is latency in the number of active vessels in the sector, suggesting that fishers have relatively low incentive to participate in the fishery (five vessels in 2016–17 and 2017–18 out of eight registered permits in both years).

3.4 Environmental status

The CSF was reaccredited under parts 13 and 13A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 until 18 December 2020. Conditions placed on the approval include AFMA limiting the take of species listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This includes a requirement that no more than 50 humphead Maori wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus) or 40 t of mixed species belonging to the family Acroporidae are harvested per year from the CSF. AFMA is also required to review the species composition and spatial extent of all coral harvested when 20 t has been harvested, and ensure that a disproportionate amount of each coral genus is not taken from a single reef. Furthermore, AFMA is required to report to CITES on the harvested weight and harvest locations for each coral genus; and the sex, length and harvest location of each humphead Maori wrasse. Other recommendations include reviewing and revising ecological risk assessments, and bycatch and discarding workplans, and developing and implementing fisheries management strategies for the CSF.

In 2007, a qualitative level 1 (Scale, Intensity, Consequence Analysis) ecological risk assessment of eight sectors in the CSF covered a broad suite of species and associated habitats. A semi-qualitative level 2 ecological risk assessment was then undertaken in 2009 for protected species and chondrichthyans (AFMA 2009). Harvest strategy trigger limits will be updated in 2019 for both the Aquarium and Line, Trap and Trawl sectors.

AFMA publishes quarterly logbook reports of interactions with protected species on its website. A single interaction with a shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) was reported in the CSF in 2018; the animal was hooked and reported dead.

3.5 References

AFMA 2009, ‘Coral Sea Fishery qualitative risk analysis’, part 1, ‘Protected (TEP) and chondrichthyan species’, unpublished report, Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra.

—— 2018, Management arrangements booklet 2018–19—Coral Sea Fishery, AFMA, Canberra.

Andréfouët, S, Muller-Karger, FE, Robinson, JA, Kranenburg, CJ, Torres-Pulliza, D, Spraggins, SA & Murch, B 2005, ‘Global assessment of modern coral reef extent and diversity for regional science and management applications: a view from space’, in Y Suzuki, T Nakamori, M Hidaka, H Kayanne, BE Casareto, K Nadaoka, H Yamano, M Tsuchiya & K Yamazato (eds), 10th International Coral Reef Symposium, Japanese Coral Reef Society, Okinawa, Japan.

Ceccarelli, D, Choat, JH, Ayling, AM, Richards, Z, van Herwerden, L, Ayling, A, Ewels, G, Hobbs, JP & Cuff, B 2008, Coringa–Herald National Nature Reserve marine survey—2007, report to the Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, C&R Consulting & James Cook University.

Chambers, M 2015, ‘Status determination for trochus and tropical rock lobster stocks in the Coral Sea Fishery hand collection sector’, in J Larcombe, R Noriega & I Stobutzki (eds), Reducing uncertainty in fisheries stock status, ABARES research report, Canberra.

DEEDI 2010, Annual status report 2010: Marine Aquarium Fish Fishery, Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Brisbane.

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 2018, Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Canberra.

Fry, GC, Brewer, DT & Venables, WN 2006, ‘Vulnerability of deepwater demersal fishes to commercial fishing: evidence from a study around a tropical volcanic seamount in Papua New Guinea’, Fisheries Research, vol. 81, pp. 126–41.

Keag, M, Flood, M & Saunders, T 2012, ‘Tropical rock lobster Panulirus ornatus’, in M Flood, I Stobutzki, J Andrews, G Begg, W Fletcher, C Gardner, J Kemp, A Moore, A O’Brien, R Quinn, J Roach, K Rowling, K Sainsbury, T Saunders, T Ward & M Winning (eds), Status of key Australian fish stocks reports 2012, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra, pp. 161–6.

Kirkwood, GP, Beddington, JR & Rossouw, JA 1994, ‘Harvesting species of different life spans’, in PJ Edwards, R May & N Webb (eds), Large scale ecology and conservation biology, Blackwell, pp. 199–227.

Larcombe, J & Roach, J 2015, ‘Coral Sea Fishery Line and Trap Sector: preliminary stock assessments’, in J Larcombe, R Noriega & I Stobutzki (eds), Reducing uncertainty in fisheries stock status, ABARES research report, Canberra.

Leatherbarrow, A & Woodhams, J 2015, ‘Coral Sea Fishery: Aquarium Sector assessments’, in J Larcombe, R Noriega & I Stobutzki (eds), Reducing uncertainty in fisheries stock status, ABARES research report, Canberra.

Oxley, WG, Ayling, AM, Cheal, AJ & Thompson, AA 2003, Marine surveys undertaken in the Coringa–Herald National Nature Reserve, March–April 2003, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville.

——, Emslie, M, Muir, P & Thompson, AA 2004, Marine surveys undertaken in the Lihou Reef National Nature Reserve, March 2004, AIMS, Townsville.

Pitcher, CR, Turnbull, CT, Atfield, J, Griffin, D, Dennis, D & Skewes, T 2005, Biology, larval transport modelling and commercial logbook data analysis to support management of the NE Queensland rocklobster Panulirus ornatus fishery, FRDC project 2002/008, CSIRO Marine Research, Brisbane.

Purcell, SW, Williamson, DH & Ngaluafe, P 2018, ‘Chinese market prices of beche-de-mer: implications for fisheries and aquaculture’, Marine Policy, vol. 91, pp. 58–65.

UN Comtrade 2019, UN Comtrade Database, United Nations, New York, https://comtrade.un.org/data, accessed 10 April 2019.

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Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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