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Survey estimates of fishable biomass following a mass mortality in an Australian molluscan fishery


Mayfield, S and McGarvey, R and Gorfine, HK and Peeters, H and Burch, P and Sharma, S, Survey estimates of fishable biomass following a mass mortality in an Australian molluscan fishery, Journal of Fish Diseases, 34, (4) pp. 287-302. ISSN 0140-7775 (2011) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1365-2761.2011.01241.x


Mass mortality events are relatively uncommon in commercially fished populations, but when they occur, they reduce production and degrade ecosystems. Observing and documenting mass mortalities is simpler than quantifying the impact on stocks, monitoring or predicting recovery, and re-establishing commercial fishing. Direct survey measures of abundance, distribution and harvestable biomass provide the most tenable approach to informing decisions about future harvests in cases where stock collapses have occurred because conventional methods have been disrupted and are less applicable. Abalone viral ganglioneuritis (AVG) has resulted in high levels of mortality across all length classes of blacklip abalone, Haliotis rubra Leach, off western Victoria, Australia, since May 2006. Commercial catches in this previously valuable fishery were reduced substantially. This paper describes the integration of research surveys with commercial fishermens knowledge to estimate the biomass of abalone on AVG-impacted reefs. Experienced commercial abalone divers provided credible information on the precise locations of historical fishing grounds within which fishery-independent surveys were undertaken. Abalone density estimates remained low relative to pre-AVG levels, and total biomass estimates were similar to historical annual catch levels, indicating that the abalone populations have yet to adequately recover. Survey biomass estimates were incorporated into harvest decision tables and used with prior accumulated knowledge of the populations to determine a conservative harvest strategy for the fishery.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:abalone, commercial fishery, disease, mass mortality, stock collapse, survey
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Fish pests and diseases
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Wild caught edible molluscs
UTAS Author:Burch, P (Dr Paul Burch)
ID Code:92984
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:22
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2014-07-03
Last Modified:2017-11-04

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