March, 2022|Sustainability

Status of Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) Reports demonstrate the sustainability of Australia’s fisheries

The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation’s annual Status of Australian Fish Stocks (SAFS) Reports bring together the available biological, catch and effort information to determine the status of Australia’s key wild-catch fish stocks.

The 2020 SAFS Reports (5th edition) provide scientifically robust, up-to-date information on the sustainability of Australia’s fish stocks, and are the most comprehensive reports on sustainability of fish stocks undertaken in Australia.

The SAFS Reports cover 148 Australian species, made up of 477 individual stocks, and they show that Australia’s fish stocks are well managed, and the majority of stocks are healthy.

The Reports provide a single location for stock status classifications from stocks in all jurisdictions, allowing domestic and international consumers to see where their seafood comes from and whether it is being sustainably caught and managed.

Importantly, the SAFS Reports are also used by public policy makers, industry and researchers, as the results provide a clear roadmap highlighting areas that need further work.

Since July 2018, SAFS summary information has been used to inform Australia’s progress against UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.4.1, the proportion of fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels.

To the make the SAFS Reports more accessible to consumers, the 2020 edition is also available through a new SAFS smartphone app. The app allows users to easily access key information about the species assessed, and links back to the website, which hosts the full Reports.

The FRDC is also assessing options for creating a broader sustainability framework that extends beyond stock status to consider ecosystem-wide effects, including issues such as carbon footprint and plastic usage. Some FRDC products and projects, including the business-to-business sustainability tool ‘WhichFish’ and the National Bycatch Report, will likely form part of such a scheme, with the primary challenge being integration of the contributing components into a cohesive framework.