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In November 2021, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development convened an Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) of the Western Australian fisheries that access the Marine Aquarium Fish Resource. ERAs are conducted by the Department as part of its Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management framework. Outputs of this ERA will inform future versions of the Harvest Strategy for the Resource. Additionally, this ERA is a requirement of the Wildlife Trade Operation approval for the Marine Aquarium Fish Managed Fishery (MAFMF).

Ecological impacts of the MAFMF, which is the only commercial fishery that targets the Resource, and other extractive sectors that access the Resource were assessed, including the impacts of fishing on retained species, threatened, endangered, and protected species, habitats and the broader environment.

Stakeholders invited to the ERA workshop included representatives of the commercial and recreational fishing sectors, conservation sector, Commonwealth, state and local government and James Cook University. Risk scores were based on available research and expert knowledge on species, fishing activities and fishery management. A likelihood-consequence analysis was used to estimate risk and conformed to the AS/NZS ISO 31000 risk management standard.

Forty-three ecological components were scored for risk. The majority (39) were evaluated as low or negligible risks, which do not require any specific control measures. There were four medium risks, which were assessed as acceptable under existing monitoring and control measures. The ERA did not yield any high risks. It is recommended that risks be reviewed in five years.

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coral, syngnathidae, aquarium, fishery, management, ecological, risk, assessment

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