Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
In December 2022, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) convened an ecological risk assessment (ERA) of the fisheries that access the Offshore Crustacean Resource (Resource).
The Western Australian commercial fisheries that access the Resource are the West Coast Deep Sea Crustacean Managed Fishery, South Coast Crustacean Managed Fishery and West Coast Rock Lobster Managed Fishery. Due to the predominantly offshore distribution of the Resource, there is only minor recreational and customary access of this Resource related to harvesting of southern rock lobster on the south coast.
The ERA considered the potential ecological impacts of harvesting the Resource. The assessment focused on evaluating the impact of the commercial fishing sector on all relevant retained and bycatch species, endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) species, habitats and the broader environment.
A broad range of stakeholders were invited to participate in the ERA workshop, including representatives of the commercial, recreational, customary and aquaculture fishing sectors, State and Commonwealth Government agencies, the conservation sector, universities and DPIRD staff including fisheries management, research, compliance and biosecurity personnel.
Risk scores were determined based on available scientific information and expert knowledge. The assessment conforms to the AS/NZS ISO 31000 risk management standard, and to the methodology adopted by DPIRD which uses a consequence-likelihood analysis for estimating risk.
Forty three ecological components were scored for risk. The majority (34) of components were evaluated as low or negligible risks, which do not require any specific control measures. Four components were evaluated as medium risks, which were assessed as acceptable under the current monitoring and control measures already in place.
There were four high risks and one severe risk, which all related to stocks of the primary target species. These stocks had been formally assessed by DPIRD prior to this ERA and the pre-existing risk scores from those assessments were adopted in this ERA. Management changes have already been implemented that are expected to reduce the risk for each stock to an acceptable level.
It is recommended that all risks be reviewed in five years.
Number of Pages
deep sea crab, southern rock lobster, Western Australia, fishery, sustainability, risk assessment
How J., Smith K.A., Donnelly H., Wiberg L. and Oliver R. (2023). Ecological Risk Assessment for the Western Australian Offshore Crustacean Resource. Fisheries Research Report No. 332. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia. 104 pp.
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