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MORETON BAY BUGS (2018)

Thenus parindicus, Thenus australiensis, Thenus spp.

  • Brad Zeller (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland)
  • James Larcombe (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences)
  • Mervi Kangas (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia)

You are currently viewing a report filtered by jurisdiction. View the full report.

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Summary

Reef Bug and Mud Bug, collectively known as Moreton Bay Bugs, are sustainable species distributed along the tropical and subtropical coast of Australia.

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
Western Australia Western Australia EGPMF, KPMF, NBPMF, PFTIMF, PTMF, SBPMF, SBSCMF Sustainable Catch
EGPMF
Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
KPMF
Kimberley Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
NBPMF
Nickol Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
PFTIMF
Pilbara Fish Trawl (Interim) Managed Fishery (WA)
PTMF
Pilbara Trap Managed Fishery (WA)
SBPMF
Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
SBSCMF
Shark Bay Scallop Managed Fishery (WA)
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Stock Structure

Reef Bug (Thenus australiensis) and Mud Bug (T. parindicus) are known collectively as ‘Moreton Bay Bugs’. Moreton Bay Bugs are distributed along the tropical and subtropical coast of Australia from northern New South Wales to Shark Bay in Western Australia [George and Griffin 1972]. No studies have been carried out on the biological stock structure of Australian Moreton Bay Bugs. The two species have overlapping distributions; may be trawled together; are undifferentiated in the catch; and are assessed together.

Given the uncertainty in biological stock structure, here assessment of stock status is presented at the management unit level—Northern Prawn Fishery, Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (Commonwealth) and East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (Queensland); and the jurisdictional level—Western Australia.

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Stock Status

Western Australia

No formal stock assessment exists for Moreton Bay Bugs in Western Australia. Moreton Bay Bugs are not targeted in Western Australia, but are landed as occasional byproduct species of prawn and scallop trawl fisheries, so fishing effort directed at them is low. At 7 t in 2017, the combined Western Australian fisheries landings of Moreton Bay Bugs are low, but within the historical catch range. Combined fishery landings have been at or below 10 t six out of ten years since 2007. The spatial coverage of Western Australian fisheries that retain Moreton Bay Bugs is limited, compared with the large area across which Moreton Bay Bugs are distributed in north-western Western Australia. Substantial Moreton Bay Bug biomass is protected within the extensive network of fishery closures in place from Shark Bay to Napier Broome Bay [Gaughan and Santoro (eds) 2018]. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be depleted, that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired, and that the current level of fishing mortality is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, Moreton Bay Bug in Western Australia is classified as a sustainable stock.

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Biology

Moreton Bay Bug biology [Courtney 1997, Jones 1988]

Biology
Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
MORETON BAY BUGS ~7 years T. australiensis: Males 106 mm CW, Females 124 mm CW T. parindicus: Males 87 mm CW, Females 103 mm CW T. australiensis: Female 82 mm CW T. parindicus: Female 75 mm CW
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Distributions

Distribution of reported commercial catch of Moreton Bay Bugs
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Tables

Fishing methods
Western Australia
Commercial
Otter Trawl
Unspecified
Fish Trap
Management methods
Method Western Australia
Commercial
Effort limits
Limited entry
Spatial closures
Vessel restrictions
Active vessels
Western Australia
6 in EGPMF, 5 in KPMF, <3 in NBPMF, <3 in PFTIMF, <3 in PTMF, 17 in SBPMF, 4 in SBSCMF
EGPMF
Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
KPMF
Kimberley Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
NBPMF
Nickol Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
PFTIMF
Pilbara Fish Trawl (Interim) Managed Fishery (WA)
PTMF
Pilbara Trap Managed Fishery (WA)
SBPMF
Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
SBSCMF
Shark Bay Scallop Managed Fishery (WA)
Catch
Western Australia
Commercial 8.20t in EGPMF, KPMF, NBPMF, PFTIMF, PTMF, SBPMF, SBSCMF
Indigenous No catch
Recreational No catch
EGPMF
Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
KPMF
Kimberley Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
NBPMF
Nickol Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
PFTIMF
Pilbara Fish Trawl (Interim) Managed Fishery (WA)
PTMF
Pilbara Trap Managed Fishery (WA)
SBPMF
Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
SBSCMF
Shark Bay Scallop Managed Fishery (WA)

Commonwealth – Recreational The Commonwealth Government does not manage recreational fishing. Recreational fishing in Commonwealth waters is managed by the states or territory immediately adjacent to those waters, under their management regulations. Commonwealth – Indigenous The Commonwealth Government does not manage non-commercial Indigenous fishing (with the exception of the Torres Strait). In general, non-commercial Indigenous fishing in Commonwealth waters is managed by the states or territory immediately adjacent to those waters. In the Torres Strait, both commercial and non-commercial Indigenous fishing is managed by the Torres Strait Protected Zone Joint Authority (PZJA) through the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (Commonwealth), Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (Queensland) and the Torres Strait Regional Authority. The PZJA also manages non-Indigenous commercial fishing in the Torres Strait.

Queensland – Indigenous In Queensland, under the Fisheries Act 1994, Indigenous fishers are able to use prescribed traditional and non-commercial fishing apparatus in waters open to fishing. Size and possession limits and seasonal closures do not apply to Indigenous fishers. Further exemptions to fishery regulations can be obtained through permits.

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of MORETON BAY BUGS - note confidential catch not shown
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References

  1. Courtney, AJ 1997, A study of the biological parameters associated with yield optimisation of Moreton Bay Bugs, Thenus spp., final report (project 92/102), Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane.
  2. Courtney, AJ 2002, The status of Queensland’s Moreton Bay Bug (Thenus spp.) and Balmain Bug (Ibacus spp.) stocks, Queensland Government, Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane.
  3. Courtney, AJ, Campbell, MJ, Roy, DP, Tonks, ML, Chillcott, KE and Kyne, PM 2008, Round scallops and square meshes: a comparison of four codend types on the catch rates of target species and by-catch in the Queensland (Australia) saucer scallop (Amusium balloti) trawl fishery, Marine and Freshwater Research, 59: 849–864.
  4. Gaughan, DJ and Santoro, K (eds) 2018, Status Reports of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of Western Australia 2016/17, The State of the Fisheries.. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia.
  5. George, RW and Griffin, DJG 1972, The shovel nosed lobsters of Australia, Australian Natural History, September 1972, 227–231.
  6. Griffiths, S, Kenyon, R, Bulman, C, Dowdney, J, Williams, A, Sporcic, M and Fuller, M 2007, Ecological risk assessment for the effects of fishing: report for the Northern Prawn Fishery, report for the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra.
  7. Hill, B, Blaber, S, Wassenberg, T, and Milton, D 1998, Composition and Fate of Discards, in I Poiner, J Glaister, R Pitcher, C Burridge, T Wassenberg, N Gribble, B Hill, S Blaber, D Milton, D Brewer, and N Ellis (eds), The Environmental Effects of Prawn Trawling in the Far Northern Section of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park: 1991-1996, CSIRO Division of Marine Research, Cleveland.
  8. Jacobsen, I, Zeller, B, Dunning, M, Garland, A, Courtney T and Jebreen, E, An Ecological Risk Assessment of the Southern Queensland East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery and River and Inshore Beam Trawl Fishery, Fisheries Queensland, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  9. Jones, CM 1988, The biology and behaviour of bay lobsters, Thenus spp. (Decapoda: Scyllaridae), in northern Queensland, Australia, PhD thesis, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
  10. Milton, DA, Fry, GC, Kuhnert, P, Tonks, M, Zhou, S and Zhu, M 2010, Assessing data poor resources: developing a management strategy for byproduct species in the Northern Prawn Fishery, final report to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, project 2006/008.
  11. Pears, RJ, Morison, AK, Jebreen, EJ, Dunning, M, Pitcher, CR, Courtney, AJ, Houlden, B and Jacobsen, IP 2012, Ecological risk assessment of the East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park: Technical Report, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Townsville.
  12. Pitcher, CR, Doherty, P, Arnold, P, Hooper, J, Gribble, N, Bartlett, C, Browne, M, Campbell, N, Cannard, T, Cappo, M, Carini, G, Chalmers, S, Cheers, S, Chetwynd, D, Colefax, A, Coles, R, Cook, S, Davie, P, De’ath, G, Devereux, D, Done, B, Donovan, T, Ehrke, B, Ellis, N, Ericson, G, Fellegara, I, Forcey, K, Furey, M, Gledhill, D, Good, N, Gordon, S, Haywood, M, Jacobsen, I, Johnson, J, Jones, M, Kinninmoth, S, Kistle, S, Last, P, Leite, A, Marks, S, McLeod, I, Ozkowicz, S, Rose, C, Seabright, D, Sheils, J, Sherlock, M, Skelton, P, Smith, D, Smith, G, Speare, P, Stowar, M, Strickland, C, Sutcliffe, P, Van der Geest, C, Venables, W, Walsh, C, Wassenberg, T, Welna, A, and Yearsley, G 2007, Seabed biodiversity on the continental shelf of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, AIMS/CSIRO/QM/QDPI CRC Reef Research Task final report.
  13. Pitcher, CR, Haywood, M, Hooper, J, Coles, R, Bartlett, C, Browne, M, Cannard, T, Carini, G, Carter, A, Cheers, S, Chetwynd, D, Colefax, A, Cook, S, Davie, P, Ellis, N, Fellegara, I, Forcey, K, Furey, M, Gledhill, D, Hendriks, P, Jacobsen, I, Johnson, J, Jones, M, Last, P, Marks, S, McLeod, I, Sheils, J, Sheppard, J, Smith, G, Strickland, C, Van der Geest, C, Venables, W, Wassenberg, T and Yearsley, G 2007, Mapping and characterisation of the biotic and physical attributes of the Torres Strait ecosystem, CSIRO/QM/QDPI CRC Torres Strait Task final report.
  14. Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries 2018, Queensland Stock Status Assessment Workshop Proceedings 2018. Species Summaries. 19–20 June 2018, Brisbane.
  15. Turnbull, C and Rose, CL 2007, Towards ecologically sustainable management of the Torres Strait Prawn Fishery, CRC Torres Strait Task T1.5 final report, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Queensland.
  16. Zeller, B, Kangas, M, and Larcombe, J, 2014, Moreton Bay Bug Thenus australiensis, T. parindicus, in M Flood, I Stobutzki, J Andrews, C Ashby, G Begg, R Fletcher, C Gardner, L Georgeson, S Hansen, K Hartmann, P Hone, P Horvat, L Maloney, B McDonald, A Moore, A Roelofs, K Sainsbury, T Saunders, T Smith, C Stewardson, J Stewart and B Wise (eds) 2014, Status of key Australian fish stocks reports 2014, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra.