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A recovery program for the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource was introduced between late 2007 and early 2010, based on the maintenance of retained catches of demersal species (overall suite and each indicator species) by both the commercial and recreational sectors below 50% of the catches reported in 2005/06 (original catch recovery benchmarks).

Catch reductions were aimed at reducing exploitation levels (F, long-term fishing mortality of the key indicator species’ stocks) to below the threshold reference point (F = M, the natural mortality rate), which would then allow stocks to recover to above the long-term biomass threshold level. It was expected this recovery would take at least 20 years and be achieved by 2030 at the earliest.

Estimates of F (from age structures) in the 2007 assessment that underpinned the management response to reduce catches by at least 50% accounted for all sources of mortality, not just mortality observed as retained catch. This assessment provides comparison of current catches (of the demersal suite and indicator species) against original catch recovery benchmarks, which assumed total fishing mortality was characterised by retained catches and that fishing behaviour remains unchanged after implementation of the recovery program.

This assessment also provides comparison of the catches of indicator species against recovery benchmarks in the 2021 Harvest Strategy for the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource, which were based on total fishing mortality and included retained catches and post-release mortality.

This 2021 assessment provides updates in terms of fishery performance and indicator species status. Risk-based weight of evidence assessments of stock status were undertaken for WA dhufish and Snapper, as indicator species of the WCDSR.



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Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development




Fisheries, stock assessment, population biology, demersal, Western Australia, fisheries management, commercial fishing, recreational fishing


Aquaculture and Fisheries | Biology | Biostatistics | Community-Based Research | Demography, Population, and Ecology | Longitudinal Data Analysis and Time Series | Marine Biology | Natural Resources and Conservation | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Population Biology | Sustainability | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology

2021 assessment of the status of the West Coast Demersal Scalefish Resource

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