The Marine chapter of the 2016 State of the Environment (SoE) report incorporates multiple expert templates developed from
streams of marine data. This metadata record describes the Expert Assessment "The state and trends of quality of species
and groups – demersal and benthopelagic fish species, slope (>250 m)". The full Expert Assessment, including figures and
tables (where provided), is attached to this record. Where available, the Data Stream(s) used to generate this Expert Assessment
are accessible through the "On-line Resources" section of this record.
DESCRIPTION OF ECOLOGICAL SPECIES/COMMUNITY FOR EXPERT ASSESSMENT
Most information available on the state and trends of demersal and benthopelagic fish species is derived from fisheries
catches (note that sharks are also included in a separate assessment on sharks). The demersal and benthopelagic fish species
and populations over the slope of Australian waters greater than 250 m depth are considered to be in good condition except
in the South East Region (SER) where stocks are considered in poorer but improving condition. This assessment will focus particularly
on commercial stocks in the SER, the most impacted by fishing and the region with the most comprehensive studies of stock
status of key commercial populations. Attempts have also been made to be consistent in scope with the 2011 State of the
Within the slope waters of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF) commercial fish stocks have been managed
under agreed harvest strategies to set catch limits, Commonwealth marine reserves have been established, and a closure to
deepwater fishing greater than 700 m was declared since 2006. These measures as well as a structural adjustment scheme which
resulted in a reduction in active licenses operating in the fishery have assisted in the improvement of the status of some
over exploited stocks and by reducing over-fishing. Of the 13 slope species (groups) representing 22 distinct managed populations,
there has been an improvement in the overall fish biomass of populations; 10 populations were considered as not overfished
in 2010, while 13 populations were considered as not overfished in 2015. The clearest example of this improving trend is
the recovery of the deep-water eastern zone stock of orange roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus). Since closure due to concerns
regarding stock status in 2006, the eastern zone stock is now believed to have recovered sufficiently to have allowed a
commercial fishery to recommence in 2015. Several indicators for the eastern zone orange roughy fishery support this assessment
with improvements in the biomass, age distribution and fish fecundity.
Five populations, representing three species, are considered to be overfished. The southern and western zone populations
of orange roughy, eastern gemfish (Rexea solandri) and gulper sharks (Centrophorus spp.) are currently classified as overfished.
Despite efforts to rebuild the stock of eastern gemfish, there have been no signs of recovery to date. Changing environmental
conditions due to the strengthening and southern movement of the East Australian Current may be a component of this non-recovery.
Gulper Sharks have been subject to increasing research, a recovery plan, and spatial closures. Recovery of these populations
however has been estimated to take more than 60 years.
Based on current management and monitoring practices, the outlook for commercial deep-water demersal and benthopelagic fish
species in Australian waters is improving.
DATA STREAM(S) USED IN EXPERT ASSESSMENT
This assessment is based on fisheries assessments of commercial species in the south-east region. Data on state and trends
and associated spatial and temporal coverage are detailed in the publications provided in the reference list.
2016 SOE ASSESSMENT SUMMARY [see attached Expert Assessment for full details]
• 2016 •
Assessment grade: Good
Assessment trend: Improving
Confidence grade: Adequate high-quality evidence or high level of consensus
Confidence trend: Adequate high-quality evidence or high level of consensus
Comparability: Grade and trend are somewhat comparable to the 2011 assessment
• 2011 •
Assessment grade: Poor
Confidence grade: Limited evidence or limited consensus
CHANGES SINCE 2011 SOE ASSESSMENT
It is not clear how the assessment in 2011 was derived. The 2016 is based on the most recent commercial fisheries assessments.
Smith, A.D.M., Smith, D.C., Tuck, G.N., Klaer, N., Punt, A.E., Knuckey, I., Prince, J., Morison, A., Kloser, R., Haddon,
M., Wayte, S., Day, J., Fay, G., Pribac, F., Fuller, M., Taylor, B. and L.R. Little (2008) Experience in implementing harvest
strategies in Australia’s south-eastern ﬁsheries. Fisheries Research 94:373–9.
Smith, A. D., Smith, D. C., Haddon, M., Knuckey, I. A., Sainsbury, K. J., and Sloan, S. R. 2013. Implementing harvest strategies
in Australia: 5 years on. ICES Journal of Marine Science: Journal du Conseil: fst158.
Woodhams, J., I. Stobutzki, S. Vieira, and R. Curtotti. BG, 2011. Fishery status reports 2010: status of fish stocks and
fisheries managed by the Australian government. Tech. rep., Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and
Patterson, H, Georgeson, L, Stobutzki, I & Curtotti, R (ed) 2015, Fishery status reports 2015, Australian Bureau of Agricultural
and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra. CC BY 3.0.
Upston, J., Punt, A. E., Wayte, S., Day, J., Haddon, M., Ryan, T., Sporcic, M., et al. 2014. Orange Roughy (Hoplostethus
atlanticus) Eastern Zone stock assessment incorporating data up to 2014 - base-case model. Australian Fisheries Management
Authority, Nov. 2014.
Kloser, R. J., Sutton, C., Krusic-Golub, K., and Ryan, T. E. 2015. Indicators of recovery for orange roughy (Hoplostethus
atlanticus) in eastern Australian waters fished from 1987. Fisheries Research, 167: 225-235.
Ridgway, K.R., (2007) Long-term trend and decadal variability of the southward penetration of the East Australian Current.
Geophysical. Research Letters 34, L13613.
AFMA (2012) Upper-Slope Dogfish Management Strategy. AFMA-managed Fisheries. October 2012. 43p.
QUALITY OF DATA USED IN THE ASSESSMENT
As good as fishery catch data can be.
CUSTODIAN AND LOCATION OF DATA
AFMA and State agencies hold original data upon which the cited publications draw (details of specific data sets used to
generate the assessment have not been provided).
METHOD USED TO DETERMINE STATE OR RECENT TREND
Output from assessments published in relevant reports and publications.
When citing this Expert Assessment in a list of references use the following format:
citation author name/s (year metadata published), metadata title. Citation author organisation/s. File identifier and Data
accessed at (add http link).