Australia increases its toothfish quota

Based on the latest scientific assessments, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) Commission has decided to raise the total allowable catch (TAC) for Patagonian toothfish and to slightly decline the mackerel icefish TAC for the Heard and McDonald Islands Fishery season.

AFMA informed that for the season starting on December 1, the Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) TAC will be 3,525 tonnes, which is an increase of 120 tonnes (3.5 per cent) from the previous one. For the mackerel icefish (Champsocephalus gunnari), the TAC will be 526 tonnes, which is a reduction of 35 tonnes (7.1 per cent).

AFMA’s CEO, Dr James Findlay, said that Commonwealth fisheries management is considered among the best in the world, with Commonwealth fish stocks assessed regularly to ensure catches remain at sustainable levels.

“AFMA’s sustainable approach to fisheries management, backed up by the best available science, has been shown to work effectively,” Dr Findlay said.

“This is evident with the latest Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resources Economics and Sciences (ABARES) Fishery status reports 2017 which shows that fish stocks around the Heard and McDonald Islands are in good shape,” the CEO pointed out.

In his view, the increase in the toothfish TAC and decrease in the icefish TAC again demonstrates that adjustments are made to help ensure the fishery continues to be sustainably fished, which in turn can give confidence to seafood consumers worldwide.

Patagonian toothfish are found at depths of 500-2500 metres in sub-Antarctic waters. The species can grow up to two metres in length and weigh up to 200 kg.

Also found in sub-Antarctic waters, mackerel icefish are much smaller than toothfish, weighing a maximum of 2 kg and growing up to 66 cm in length.