Frequently Asked Questions

What happened to the Abel Tasman?

CLICK HERE to download the timeline which clearly shows the events surrounding the Abel Tasman.

Timeline screenshot

How reliable is the science supporting quota setting?

Egg surveys are used to estimate the size of the spawning stocks. This fish stock assessment method is widely used and recognised as being an effective approach for the assessment of small pelagic species. The egg surveys in this fishery have been carried out by independent scientists from the Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute and from the South Australian Research and Development Institute.

How are the quotas set?

The Small Pelagic Fishery Harvest Strategy is a strict set of rules that specifies what data are required and how they are used. The annual Total Allowable Catches are set as a % of the size of the spawning biomass. The maximum harvest rate is 20% if two egg surveys are carried out on the same stock within a 3 year period.

How can egg survey data be used if it is “out of date”?

As egg survey data get older, they are used in a more precautionary way in the Total Allowable Catch setting process. That is, the size of the Total Allowable Catch is reduced each year from a maximum of 20% to a base level of 7.5% of the estimated spawning stock until a new egg survey is carried out. Scientists consider this to be a highly conservative approach.

What about local depletion?

Dr. Keith Sainsbury, IMAS, says

“Ecological consequences from large to medium space‐scale depletion is not likely because of the diverse forage base in this ecosystem, the mobility of both the predators and prey in this ecosystem, the spatial zoning of catches, and the experience world‐wide with harvest rates as low as those being applied here. However the possibility of some effect at some very local scale cannot be totally excluded and requires monitoring”.