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Southern Garfish (2018)

Hyporhamphus melanochir

  • Mike Steer (South Australian Research and Development Institute)
  • Corey Green (Victorian Fisheries Authority)
  • Jeremy Lyle (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania)
  • Kim Smith (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia)

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Summary

Southern Garfish has a wide distribution around Australia. There are ten stocks across WA, SA, TAS and VIC. Five are sustainable, two depleting, two depleted and one recovering.

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
Victoria Victoria CIF, OF, PPBWPF Sustainable Catch, effort, CPUE trends
CIF
Corner Inlet Fishery (VIC)
OF
Ocean Fishery (VIC)
PPBWPF
Port Phillip Bay and Western Port Bay Fishery (VIC)
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Stock Structure

Southern Garfish has a wide distribution in Australia, extending from Lancelin in Western Australia, along the southern coast of mainland Australia and up the east coast to Eden in southern New South Wales, as well as the surrounding waters of Tasmania [Gomon et al. 2008].

There has been no research into the stock structure of Western Australian populations of Southern Garfish. However, given the limited dispersal typically displayed by Southern Garfish, and the large spatial separation between the west and south coasts of Western Australia, it is highly likely that the west and south coast support separate biological stocks of this species [Steer et al. 2009, Ye et al. 2002].

In Victoria, there has been no research into the stock structure for populations of Southern Garfish and they are assumed to constitute a single jurisdictional stock.

In Tasmania, differences in size and age composition between the north coast and the east coast indicate that there may be multiple biological stocks; however, no firm evidence exists at present, and current stock assessments assume a single state-wide biological stock [Moore et al. 2018].

A multidisciplinary otolith-based study (otolith chemistry and morphometrics) identified at least five biological stocks in South Australia: West Coast, Northern Spencer Gulf, Southern Spencer Gulf, Northern Gulf St. Vincent and Southern Gulf St. Vincent [Steer et al. 2009]. Given the level of spatial separation of Southern Garfish observed between the gulfs, it was assumed that Southern Garfish from the south east also comprised a separate biological stock.

Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the biological stock level—Western Australia West Coast and Western Australia South Coast; South Australia West Coast (Western Australia); Southern Spencer Gulf, Northern Spencer Gulf, Southern Gulf St. Vincent, Northern Gulf St. Vincent and South East (South Australia); Tasmania; and at the jurisdictional level—Victoria.

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Stock Status

Victoria

In Victoria, Southern Garfish are predominantly landed in the Corner Inlet and Port Phillip Bay Fisheries using haul seines where 76 t and 870 kg were landed in 2017 respectively. Catches in the Corner Inlet Fishery (CIF) range from 13 t to 90 t between 2000 and 2017 [VFA 2017]. Catch rates (haul seines) in the CIF declined from 1979–90 (average 26 kg/shot) to a historical low in 1996–97 (7.4 kg/shot) [Conron et al. 2016]. Over the period 2001–02 to 2004–05, catch rates appeared to stabilise around the long-term average of 20 kg/shot [VFA 2017]. In 2014–15, catch rates dropped to well below the long-term average, following a declining trend in the five year average catch rate since 2004–05 [VFA 2017]. In 2017, catch increased to 76 t which was 58 t above the previous year’s catch; while CPUE significantly increased to 32 kg/shot which was 23 per cent per cent above the historical long-term average catch rate obtained from 1979–90 [VFA unpublished data]. These changes indicate that abundance of this stock is subject to rapid fluctuations as a result of inter-annual recruitment variability. Catches in the Port Phillip Bay and Western Port Fishery (PPBWPF) have fluctuated between 4 t in 2014 and 44 t in 2001. As the effort in the Port Phillip Bay fishery started to reduce due to the buy-out of most fishing licences in April 2016, catches in 2017 decreased to 870 kg [VFA unpublished data]. Catch rates for the Port Phillip Bay Fishery have been declining since 2011–12 and by 2014–15 were still at about half the long-term average [Conron et al. 2016].

The majority of recreational catch of Southern Garfish comes from Port Phillip Bay. In 2000–01, it was estimated that 25 t was taken by the Victorian recreational fishery, constituting 3.4 per cent of the state-wide recreational catch of all species in marine waters. Recreational catch rates of Southern Garfish by anglers in Port Phillip Bay have declined slightly since 2004–05 [Henry and Lyle 2003]. As the CIF largely dominates the catch and most commercial fishers no longer land Southern Garfish in the PPBWPF, greater emphasis on the CIF was used to determine the status of the stock.

The above evidence indicates that the stock is unlikely to be depleted and that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired. Furthermore, the above evidence indicates 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, Southern Garfish in Victoria is classified as a sustainable stock.

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Biology

Southern Garfish biology [Smith et al. 2017, Ye et al. 2002]

Biology
Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Southern Garfish South Australia: 10 years, 380 mm TL Tasmania: 9.5 years, 460 mm TL. Western Australia: 12 years, 430 mm TL Western Australia: 12 months, 230 mm TL South Australia: 18 months, 190 mm TL Victoria: 19 months, 210 mm TL Tasmania: 22 months, 200 mm TL
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Distributions

Distribution of reported commercial catch of Southern Garfish
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Tables

Fishing methods
Victoria
Commercial
Hook and Line
Net
Recreational
Hook and Line
Net
Management methods
Method Victoria
Commercial
Effort limits
Gear restrictions
Licence
Limited entry
Spatial closures
Indigenous
Customary fishing permits
Recreational
Bag limits
Gear restrictions
Licence
Spatial closures
Active vessels
Victoria
17 in CIF, 2 in OF, 6 in PPBWPF
CIF
Corner Inlet Fishery (VIC)
OF
Ocean Fishery (VIC)
PPBWPF
Port Phillip Bay and Western Port Bay Fishery (VIC)
Catch
Victoria
Commercial 76.54t in CIF, 869.50kg in PPBWPF
Indigenous Unknown (No catch under permit)
Recreational 21 t (2006–07)
CIF
Corner Inlet Fishery (VIC)
PPBWPF
Port Phillip Bay and Western Port Bay Fishery (VIC)

Victoria – Indigenous (management methods) In Victoria, regulations for managing recreational fishing may not apply to fishing activities by Indigenous people. Victorian traditional owners may have rights under the Commonwealth's Native Title Act 1993 to hunt, fish, gather and conduct other cultural activities for their personal, domestic or non-commercial communal needs without the need to obtain a licence. Traditional Owners that have agreements under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (Vic) may also be authorised to fish without the requirement to hold a recreational fishing licence. Outside of these arrangements, Indigenous Victorians can apply for permits under the Fisheries Act 1995 (Vic) that authorise fishing for specific Indigenous cultural ceremonies or events (for example, different catch and size limits or equipment). There were no Indigenous permits granted in 2017 and hence no Indigenous catch recorded.

South Australia – Commercial (catch) Data for the Northern Zone Rock Lobster Fishery (South Australia) and the Southern Zone Rock Lobster Fishery (South Australia) have been combined because of confidentiality requirements.

Tasmania – Recreational (management methods) In Tasmania, a recreational licence is required for fishers using dropline or longline gear, along with nets, such as gillnet or beach seine. e Tasmania – Indigenous (management methods) In Tasmania, Indigenous people engaged in fishing activities in marine waters are exempt from holding recreational fishing licences, but must comply with all other fisheries rules as if they were licensed. Additionally, recreational bag and possession limits also apply. If using pots, rings, set lines or gillnets, aborigines must obtain a unique identifying code (UIC). The policy document Recognition of Aboriginal Fishing Activities for issuing a Unique Identifying Code (UIC) to a person for Aboriginal Fishing activity explains the steps to take in making an application for a UIC

Western Australia – Recreational (catch) Current shore-based recreational catch and effort in Western Australia is unknown. State-wide surveys of boat-based fishing are conducted regularly, most recently in 2015/16 [Ryan et al. 2017].

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Southern Garfish - note confidential catch not shown

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References

  1.  Henry, GW and Lyle, JM 2003, The national recreational and indigenous fishing survey, Fisheries Research Development Corporation project 99/158, Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Canberra.
  2. Conron S, Green C, Hamer, P, Giri K, and Hall K 2016, Corner Inlet- Nooramunga Fishery Assessment 2016. Fisheries Victoria Science Report Series No. 11.
  3. Giri K and Hall K, 2015 South Australian Recreational Fishing Survey. Fisheries Victoria Internal Report Series No. 62.
  4. Gomon, M, Bray, D and Kuiter, R 2008, Fishes of Australia’s southern coast, New Holland Publishers, Australia.
  5. Martell, S and Froese, R 2013, A simple method for estimating MSY from catch and resilience. Fish and Fisheries, 14: 504–514.
  6. Moore, BM, Lyle, J and Hartmann, K 2016, Tasmanian Scalefish Fshery Assessment 2016/17, The Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Tasmania.
  7. Pearce, A, Lenenton, R, Jackson, G, Moore, J, Feng, M and Gaughan, D 2011, The “Marine Heat Wave” off Western Australia during the Summer of 2010/11, Fisheries Research Report 222, Department of Fisheries, Western Australia.
  8. Review of key Victorian fish stocks—2017 Victorian Fisheries Authority Science Report Series No. 1
  9. Ryan KL, Hall NG, Lai EK, Smallwood CB, Taylor SM and Wise BS 2017. Statewide survey of boatbased recreational fishing in Western Australia 2015/16. Fisheries Research Report No. 287, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia. 205pp.
  10. Smith K, Dowling C, Mountford S, Hesp A, Howard A and Brown J. 2017, Status of southern garfish (Hyporhamphus melanochir) in Cockburn Sound, Western Australia. Research Report No. 271. Department of Fisheries, Western Australia.Smith K, Holtz M, Bunbury E, O'Malley J and Yerman M. 2018, West Coast Nearshore and Estuarine Finfish Resource Status Report 2017. In: Status reports of the fisheries and aquatic resources of Western Australia 2016/17: State of the Fisheries. eds. Gaughan DJ and Santoro K. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia. pp 50–56.
  11. Smith K, Holtz M, Bunbury E, O'Malley J and Yerman M 2018, West Coast Nearshore and Estuarine Finfish Resource Status Report 2017. In: Status reports of the fisheries and aquatic resources of Western Australia 2016/17: State of the Fisheries. eds. Gaughan DJ and Santoro K. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia. pp 50–56.
  12. Steer MA, Fowler AJ, McGarvey R, Feenstra J, Westlake EL, Matthews D, Drew M, Rogers PJ and Earl J 2018, Assessment of the South Australian Marine Scalefish Fishery in 2016. Report to PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture. South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. F2017/000427-1. SARDI Research Report Series No. 974. Pp 250. 
  13. Steer, MA, Fowler, AJ and Gillanders, BM 2009, Spatial management of Garfish in South Australia – stock structure and adult movement, final report to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, project 2007/029, Canberra.
  14. Ye, Q, Jones, GK, McGlennon, D, Ayvazian, S and Coutin, P 2002, Fisheries Biology and Habitat Ecology of Southern Sea Garfish (Hyporhamphus melanochir) in Southern Australian Waters, final report to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, project 1997/133, Canberra.Conron S, Green C, Hamer, P, Giri K and Hall K 2016, Corner Inlet- Nooramunga Fishery Assessment 2016. Fisheries Victoria Science Report Series No. 11.

Downloadable reports

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