Standard Talk (15 mins) Australian Society for Fish Biology Conference 2022

Ten years of fishery-independent monitoring of Tasmanian sand flathead abundance and population characteristics (#83)

Alyssa Marshell 1 , Graeme Ewing 1 , Jeremy Lyle 1 , Sean Tracey 1
  1. University of Tasmania, Taroona, TAS, Australia

Sand flathead (Platycephalus bassensis) are the most commonly caught species by recreational fishers in Tasmania. Annual fishery-independent surveys conducted since 2012 using the fishing gear and targeting practices typical of recreational fishers in areas of significant effort of the fishery, and at the time of year of highest catchability (January - March), suggest relatively low abundances of legal-sized fish, particularly in south-eastern Tasmania where populations are subject to heavy fishing pressure. While an increase in minimum size limit (300 to 320 mm) and reduction in bag limit (30 to 20 sand and tiger flathead combined) in 2015 seemed to reduce catch, current levels of fishing pressure are likely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired. The latest stock assessment report indicates that the stock is depleting and that there is strong evidence of growth overfishing.