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Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development








In August 2022, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) convened an ecological risk assessment (ERA) of the fishery and aquaculture operations that access the Western Australian (WA) Silverlip Pearl Oyster (Pinctada maxima) resource (Resource).

The ERA considered the potential ecological impacts of the WA commercial Silverlip Pearl Oyster Fishery and related aquaculture activities including hatchery and seeding operations. The assessment evaluated the impact of each activity on all relevant retained and discarded species; threatened, endangered and protected species; habitats and the broader environment. Risks associated with aquaculture activities were also considered, including genetic impacts on wild stock, and translocation of pests or diseases.

A broad range of external stakeholders including representatives of the commercial fishing and aquaculture sectors, State and Commonwealth Government agencies, the conservation sector, universities and DPIRD staff including Fisheries Management, Research, Compliance, Biosecurity and Aquaculture personnel, were invited to participate in the ERA workshop.

Risk scores were determined based on available scientific information and expert knowledge on species, fishing and aquaculture activities, fishery regulations and management. The assessment conforms to the AS/NZS ISO 31000 risk management standard, and to the methodology adopted by the Department which relies on a consequence-likelihood analysis for estimating risk.

Twenty six ecological components were scored for risk. The vast majority (25) of ecological components were evaluated as low or negligible risks, which do not require any specific control measures. There was one medium risk, which was assessed as acceptable under the current monitoring and control measures already in place. The ERA did not yield any high risks. It is recommended that the risks be reviewed in five years.

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pearling, oyster, fishery, management, ecological, risk, impact, assessment, Western Australia

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