University of Tasmania, Australia

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Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

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Fisheries Research at IMAS

Fisheries research at IMAS supports the long term, sustainable harvest of wild marine resources

Fact Box

Australia has one of the largest marine domains in the world, covering an area larger than the Australian mainland. We also have a long history of Indigenous, commercial and recreational fishing in our waters. In 2010–11, wild-capture fisheries contributed 59 per cent of the total value of Australia’s fisheries production ($1.3 billion) and produced more than 160 000 tonnes (t) of seafood, for local, domestic and export markets.

Australian fisheries are generally well managed and sustainable.  IMAS contributed to a national status report in 2012 that concluded that examined 49 of the largest fisheries which account for around 70% of the volume of Australian catch and 80% of the value.  Of these only two were classed as overfished and both of these are recovering.

Seafood is one of only a few categories of food that has undergone real price deflation over the last twenty years, which is because supply has been growing at a greater rate than demand.  This means Australian fisheries are characterised by the need to improve the efficiency of production. 

In Partnership with the Tasmanian Government and others

IMAS applied research provides a service to the Tasmanian Government, under a Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration Agreement (SMRCA). This broadly includes the provision of fishery assessments, management advice, and tactical projects on current fishery issues.

Research is also conducted on fisheries beyond Tasmanian jurisdiction and on global fisheries issues such as allocation conflicts between recreational and commercial fishers, increasing economic benefit, and managing ecosystem interactions. Significant effort focuses on setting harvests that create sustainable community benefit from our fishery resources.

Staff List

Program leader: Associate Professor Dr Caleb Gardner

Current projects

Projects undertaken with the Fisheries Program are listed below. For information about projects in bold, see the list of individual project pages at the bottom of this page. For information about any of the other projects please contact Associate Professor Caleb Gardner.

Fisheries Assessments

  • Fishery assessment: abalone
  • Fishery assessment: commercial scallop
  • Fishery assessment: giant crab
  • Fishery assessment: octopus trap
  • Fisheries assessment: recreational rock lobster and abalone
  • Fisheries assessment: rock lobster
  • Fisheries assessment: scalefish
  • Fisheries assessment: sheltered coastal waters scallop
  • Fisheries assessment: small bivalve

Fisheries Data Collection Programs

  • Fisheries data: acoustics and video
  • Fisheries data: commercial catch sampling (Ab, RL, GC, Fin)
  • Fisheries data:  economic data collection and management
  • Fisheries data: inshore water temp monitoringFisheries data: processor sampling (Ab, RL, GC, Fin)
  • Australian Animal Tagging and Monitoring System (AATAMS)

Population Biology

  • Population biology: abalone growth and reproduction
  • Population biology: abalone recruitment
  • Population biology: banded morwong
  • Population biology: rock lobster
  • Population biology: giant crab
  • Population biology: key scalefish

Fishwise Grants

  • Offshore private boat fishing with emphasis on gamefish and deepwater reef-fish species
  • Post settlement , commercial scallop recruitment in D'Entrecasteaux Channel
  • Post-release survival of mako Sharks: Contributing to developing best-practice for catch & release game fishing
  • Post-release survival of southern bluefin tuna from recreational fishing
  • Sand flathead low-cost monitoring  regime to assess relative abundance and population characteristics
  • Relating catchability of flathead to their seasonal catchability and movement
  • Key recreational and commercial marine species base line studies
  • Recreational bluefin tuna on-site survey to cross-validate catch rates and size composition with results from an off-site phone-diary survey
  • Statewide recreational fishing survey

Fisheries Research and Development Corporation

  • Abalone biological performance indicators
  • Towards understanding greenlip abalone population structure
  • Spatial assessment and management using geo-referenced diver data
  • Preparing fisheries for climate change: identifying adaption options for four key fisheries in SE Australia
  • Growth opportunities and critical elements in the value chain for wild fisheries….
  • Impacts of gillnetting: Implications for bycatch and biodiversity
  • Periwinkle fishery of Tasmania: supporting management and a profitable industry
  • A coordinated national data collection for recreational fishing in Australia
  • Do seismic surveys affect invertebrates?
  • Respondent-driven sampling for recreational catch, effort, social and economic data
  • When and where to fish: Linking scallop spawning, settlement, ..
  • Post release survival of bluefin tuna
  • National estimates of bluefin tuna catches
  • Meeting sustainability expectations: translating and aligning objectives, targets
  • Trial of centrostephanus eradication/control
  • Maugean skate movement, habitat utilisation and population status.

Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre

  • Future harvest theme leadershipDecision support tools: abalone
  • Decision support tools: southern rock lobster
  • Could harvests from abalone stocks be increased through better management of the size limit / quota?
  • Commercialisation of southern rock lobster translocation
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Fisheries economics
  • Maximising value by reducing stress-related mortality in wild harvested abalone


  • Commonwealth scallop surveys (AFMA)
  • Building Indigenous capacity (AFMA)
  • Monitoring and assessing the small pelagic fishery (AFMA)
  • Understanding climate drivers and predicting the future for coastal Australian ecosystems (ANNIMS)
  • Putting Fisheries in the Food Bowl (ANNIMS)
  • Assessing the effectiveness of shark nursery areas for protection of coastal sharks (WVS)
  • Activity patterns of reef sharks assessed from accelerometer telemetry: contributing to understanding the potential impacts of tourist diving on shark behaviour (WVS)
  • Molecular markers to identify eggs and larvae of fish (WVS)
  • Improving assessment of endangered and protected species - RL fishing (WVS)
  • Continued monitoring of chondrichthyan species in coastal areas of south east Australia: Assessing the effectiveness of shark nursery area closures for the protection and conservation of coastal shark species (SOS)
  • Post-release survival of captured mako sharks (HW)
  • Effectiveness of spatial management strategies (HW)
  • The impact of fish aggregating devices (FADs) on the behaviour of tropical stuff (HW)
  • Understanding the stock-recruitment relationship to reverse the decline in the southern rock lobster (ARC)
  • Using animal-borne cameras to quantify prey field, habitat characteristics & foraging success in a marine top predator (ARC)

Commercialising translocation of southern rock lobster, AS-CRC 2011-744
Putting fisheries in the food bowl

PhD projects