Fisheries – International

The International Fisheries domain focusses on fisheries that operate on the high seas and/or cross-national jurisdictions and are subject to international management arrangements (e.g. Regional Fisheries Management Organisations, RFMOs).

Our focus is on Australian fisheries that target highly migratory species, such as tuna, billfish and sharks.

The strategic research program for the domain has developed innovative methods for monitoring, assessment and management systems for large-scale international fisheries. We are world leaders in management advice for sustainable fisheries, which has food security and economic impacts for Australia and our regional neighbours in the Indo-Pacific.  We have developed new methods (e.g. close-kin mark recapture (CKMR), gene-tagging, species ID, provenance and traceability) based on new genetic and statistical methods, that are transforming the way fisheries around the world are monitored and managed. Our work is award winning with two CSIRO Science Awards for innovation and impact through science.

Areas of focus, innovation, and impact

•     Southern bluefin tuna (SBT) fishery and Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT). Development and implementation of a new Management Procedure, incorporating CKMR and gene-tagging, as the basis for setting global quota and long-term management of the fishery. Consolidating and refining the field and laboratory logistics and methods for CKMR and gene-tagging to further reduce costs and ensure high quality control and efficient data management for long-term implementation for CCSBT, and also as major demonstration for other international fisheries.

•       Indonesia: Tropical tunas and SBT. Expert advice and technical assistance for development of harvest strategies for tuna fisheries in Indonesian archipelagic waters, which form a major part of the largest tuna fishery in the world, the Western and Central Pacific Ocean fishery. This work is multi-species and multi-disciplinary (biology, genetics, socio-economics, governance and MSE) and is based on a foundation of substantial in-country engagement with government, industry and NGOs and targeted scientific capacity building. There is potential to extend/grow this area by transfer to other priority countries in region, e.g. Pacific Ocean and NE Indian Ocean and/or to other priority fisheries, e.g. neritic tuna, domestic ground fisheries.

•       Tropical tuna fisheries in Australia and related Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC)). As a recognised centre of expertise in biological research, regional stock assessments and MSE, we are the primary provider of technical advice to the Australian government for the Eastern and Western Tuna and Billfish Fisheries. At an international level we engage in  biological research and MSE exercises for tropical tuna in the IOTC and WCPFC, as well as a regional stock structure projects for tropical tuna, billfish and sharks in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, as part of a strategic program to provide a global provenance map for these species.

•       Toothfish (Macquarie Island and, potentially Heard and McDonald Island, and Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Living Marine Resources).

Other Resources

Managing and monitoring Southern Blue Fin Tuna

We have provided the world’s first scientifically tested management procedure for Southern Blue Fin Tuna (SBT) using DNA sequencing and genetic tagging to manage stock levels and deliver significant economic benefits.

The CSIRO Southern Bluefin Tuna Monitoring and Management Team is improving the economic returns, community benefits and stock status of the Southern Bluefin Tuna fishery through delivery of a scientifically tested management system combined with the development of ground-breaking genomic assessment methods. Recognising the collaborative science partnerships with the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) and the Australian SBT Association (ASBTIA) and their impact on the management and status of SBT fisheries.

Dr Campbell Davies

Senior Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Environment