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Aquatic resources within Western Australia (WA) are in good condition, and this has positioned WA as a global leader in sustainable fisheries management. The sustainable fisheries of WA continue to support our strong economy and regional communities. Nonetheless, the lack of a consistent approach to build in the knowledge of Traditional Owners remains a gap in our longer term fisheries science in Western Australia.

Climate change and climate variability continues to impact fish stocks, challenging our ability to effectively monitor, assess, and manage fish stocks. We are continually working with our stakeholders, and the broader community to be adaptive, responsive, and innovative to derive updated scientific advice. A significant challenge is trying to predict what the future state of our fish resources and the ecosystems that support them. In particular, we are aiming to explore innovative techniques within the burgeoning field of molecular genetics to better understand how the regional distribution of key fish resources may be impacted, and the resilience of key species to climate change. Aligned with this is the need to better evaluate how environmental change impacts the carrying capacity of the various habitat-types across our diverse array of regions.

As we explore new opportunities and new data streams, improve our assessment methodologies, and update stock assessments, this new information is expected to increase the efficacy of our assessments of the status of some stocks. This information underpins management advice and provides managers with appropriate resource specific measures to ensure sustainability.

I am pleased to announce that in this year’s edition we include a section on Aboriginal engagement in aquatic science for the first time. The Aquatic Science and Assessment section now has a dedicated team, the Aboriginal Engagement Science Team (AEST), to ensure we are open to engaging with Aboriginal peoples of Western Australia on matters of interest to them. I acknowledge that this group is at an early stage of development and cannot attend to all queries. Nonetheless, it’s an initial step for DPIRD in the aquatic science space, and within the broader reconciliation directions of the Department.

Dr Dan Gaughan
Chief Fisheries Scientist


2200-7857 (Online) 2200-7849 (Print)

Publication Date



Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development


Perth, Western Australia


fisheries, western australia, dpird, fish, wa


Aquaculture and Fisheries | Climate | Fresh Water Studies | Marine Biology | Oceanography

State of the Fisheries: Status reports and aquatic resources of Western Australia 2022/23

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