Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories

North Beach, Australia

Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories

North Beach, Australia
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Braccini M.,Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories
Marine and Freshwater Research | Year: 2017

Declines in the mean size of harvested organisms may indicate overexploitation. In the present study, temporal patterns in the mean size of the four main commercial shark species of Western Australia were evaluated. Unlike commonly observed for other shark populations, there were no strong temporal patterns in the mean size of gummy, dusky and whiskery sharks, whereas the mean size of sandbar sharks showed a gradual increase since 1993. These observations add further evidence that sharks can be fished sustainably when adequate monitoring, assessment and management actions are implemented. © CSIRO 2017.

Gaither M.R.,Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology | Jones S.A.,Humboldt State University | Kelley C.,University of Hawaii at Manoa | Newman S.J.,Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

In the tropical Indo-Pacific, most phylogeographic studies have focused on the shallow-water taxa that inhabit reefs to approximately 30 m depth. Little is known about the large predatory fishes, primarily snappers (subfamily Etelinae) and groupers (subfamily Epinephelinae) that occur at 100-400 m. These long-lived, slow-growing species support fisheries across the Indo-Pacific, yet no comprehensive genetic surveys within this group have been conducted. Here we contribute the first range-wide survey of a deepwater Indo-Pacific snapper, Pristipomoides filamentosus, with special focus on Hawai'i. We applied mtDNA cytochrome b and 11 microsatellite loci to 26 samples (N = 1,222) collected across 17,000 km from Hawai'i to the western Indian Ocean. Results indicate that P. filamentosus is a highly dispersive species with low but significant population structure (mtDNA Φ ST = 0.029, microsatellite F ST = 0.029) due entirely to the isolation of Hawai'i. No population structure was detected across 14,000 km of the Indo-Pacific from Tonga in the Central Pacific to the Seychelles in the western Indian Ocean, a pattern rarely observed in reef species. Despite a long pelagic phase (60-180 days), interisland dispersal as adults, and extensive gene flow across the Indo-Pacific, P. filamentosus is unable to maintain population connectivity with Hawai'i. Coalescent analyses indicate that P. filamentosus may have colonized Hawai'i 26 K-52 K y ago against prevailing currents, with dispersal away from Hawai'i dominating migration estimates. P. filamentosus harbors low genetic diversity in Hawai'i, a common pattern in marine fishes, and our data indicate a single archipelago-wide stock. However, like the Hawaiian Grouper, Hyporthodus quernus, this snapper had several significant pairwise comparisons (F ST) clustered around the middle of the archipelago (St. Rogatien, Brooks Banks, Gardner) indicating that this region may be isolated or (more likely) receives input from Johnston Atoll to the south. © 2011 Gaither et al.

Piola R.F.,Defence Science and Technology Organisation, Australia | McDonald J.I.,Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2012

Shipping is almost certainly the most prevalent human-mediated transport vector for non-indigenous species (NIS) within the marine environment. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has long acknowledged the importance of sound environmental management and in recent years has taken a proactive approach to addressing risks associated with marine biosecurity. primarily as a result of biofouling on Navy vessel returning from overseas operations. This paper describes two case studies that highlight the effectiveness of the RAN marine biosecurity management framework in identifying an unwanted marine species on Navy vessels, and the successful biosecurity management program that ensued. In particular, the early detection and identification of a suspect NIS, the quick response to the discovery and the collaborative approach adopted between the RAN and the Government regulatory agency (Western Australian Department of Fisheries) charged with coordinating the incursion response serves as a model for how future incursion responses should be reported and managed. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Evans S.N.,Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories | Abdo D.A.,Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories | Abdo D.A.,Australian Institute of Marine Science
Marine and Freshwater Research | Year: 2010

Because water movement has been shown to affect the structure and community composition of the marine environment, the ability to monitor and record water movement is important in marine research. The present study describes a cost-effective, repeatable method for measuring relative water movement both spatially and temporally with an 'off the shelf' accelerometer. The technique involves suspending the accelerometer in the water column near the seafloor; movement of the apparatus by the water column is recorded as changes in acceleration relative to Earth's gravity. Water movement recorded by this technique was highly correlated (r2=0.822, P<0.01) with measurements from a recognised commercial device (wave-rider buoy). Deployment tests revealed that total wave height showed the most significant relationship (r2=0.83) with data from the technique. Use of the technique in a field situation allowed the detection of small-scale water-movement patterns within the Houtman Abrolhos Islands off Western Australia, and the quantification of the relative differences in water movement among coral-monitoring sites. Overall, the technique is a cost-effective way of obtaining basic long-term temporal water-movement data at small spatial scales (less than hundreds of metres). © CSIRO 2010.

Human B.A,Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories | Davies A.,Curtin University Australia
Marine Policy | Year: 2010

Stakeholder consultation is being adopted as standard practice in the planning and management of natural resource management programs. While the utility of stakeholder participation has been investigated for the evaluation and implementation phases of natural resource management programs, few studies have examined the utility of stakeholder consultation during the initial phases of developing such programs. This paper presents a case study from a project developing a marine and coastal monitoring program for the Pilbara and Kimberley region of northern Western Australia. Via a series of workshops held in the region, stakeholders were asked to prioritise future research needs using several voting procedures. During the analyses of the results from the different voting procedures, it became apparent that there were high levels of inconsistency, poor correlation, and contradiction, between participants' responses. Despite the rigour of the selection process used to identify 'suitable' stakeholders for the workshops, these results show that stakeholders did not have the technical or broader contextual knowledge about marine ecosystems to effectively and objectively contribute to the research prioritisation and planning process. Based on the outcomes of this study, we argue that project designers need to be clear about why they are involving stakeholders in a project, particularly in light of the costs involved (financial, time, resources, costs to the stakeholder) in stakeholder consultation. Stakeholder involvement may be appropriate in later stages of developing natural resource management programs (implementation and management), however, stakeholder involvement is not appropriate in the initial phases of such programs, where scientific expertise is essential in formulating scientific concepts and frameworks. Crown Copyright © 2009.

De Lestang S.,Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories
ICES Journal of Marine Science | Year: 2014

Large-scale migrations are known to occur in numerous species, and in the case of the Western Rock Lobster, Panulirus cygnus, result in juveniles moving from nursery areas into deeper offshore breeding grounds. In 2008 the Western Rock Lobster fishery reduced harvest rates to increase legal and spawning biomass throughout the fishery, which also allowed greater numbers of lobsters to migrate. Increased lobster migration could potentially reduce biomass in some areas, thus adversely impacting commercial catch rates. Over 20 000 tag-recaptured lobsters were analysed to determine the dynamics underlying migration in this species and to assess the impact reduced harvest rates may have had on catches. This study showed that P. cygnus migration was associated with body size and water depth, and that magnetism and oceanic currents appear to be the most likely guideposts used for orientation. Size at migration varied in a constant fashion along the coast, being larger towards the southern end of the fishery and smallest at the offshore Abrolhos Islands. During the migration period, up to 50% of lobsters at their mean size of migration moved from coastal areas out towards deeper waters (>40 m), whereas <15% of those in deeper water at the same size moved significant distances northward. This behaviour appears to be contranatant, counteracting the downstream redistribution of larvae after their 9-11 month larval life. Reduced harvest rates and catches being focussed onto higher valued sedentary lobsters have allowed more lobsters to migrate. However, the numbers moving between management areas are relatively small, with the biological and economic benefits of fishing at a reduced exploitation rate outweighing losses to catches. © 2014 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. All rights reserved.

Penn J.W.,Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories | Caputi N.,Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories | De Lestang S.,Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories
ICES Journal of Marine Science | Year: 2015

Lobster stocks around the world support high-value fisheries with production currently about 260,000 tonnes annually. The largest fisheries harvest Homarus, Nephrops and Panulirus species with smaller production from the Jasus, Palinurus and Scylarid species groups. The majority of larger industrial fisheries have systems limiting fishing effort or catches, while many of the smaller fisheries remain open access and have yet to implement basic management controls. The review uses the Western Australian fishery for Panulirus cygnus, valued between AUS$200-400 million annually with a long history of successful management, as a case study for the consideration of lobster fisheries management systems more generally. The conclusions from the review suggest that an evolutionary approach to management with biological controls as a precursor to input-based controls is necessary to allow sufficient fishery-based data to be accumulated for management decision processes to be effective. The case study experience suggests that well-defined fishing rights leading to an input-based total allowable effort system with individually transferable effort (ITE) units can provide efficient mechanisms for the reduction of latent effort, which characterises most lobster fisheries with open access or basic limited entry. Further the system has been shown to be capable of generating significant license values for fishermen while maintaining owner-operators as the dominant group in the fishery. The ITE system was also used effectively to adjust fishing to compensate for a severe environmentally-driven downturn in recruitment, but resulted in highly complex management rules. In 2010 the fishery moved seamlessly to a total allowable catch with individually transferable quotas which removed the complexity of management, further increased the catch value and reduced costs of fishing. Price/earnings (P/E) ratios have been used to track trends in license values which highlight the industry's increasing economic viability over time under both input and output based management. © 2015 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea 2015. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

McDonald J.I.,Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories
Aquatic Invasions | Year: 2012

In April 2011 a single individual of the invasive mussel Perna viridis was detected on a naval vessel while berthed in the temperate waters of Garden Island, Western Australia (WA). Further examination of this and a nearby vessel revealed a small founder population that had recently established inside one of the vessel's sea chests. Growth estimates indicated that average size mussels in the sea chest were between 37.1 and 71 days old. Back calculating an 'establishment date' from these ages placed an average sized animal's origins in the summer months of January 2011 to March 2011. This time period corresponded with an unusual heat pulse that occurred along the WA coastline resulting in coastal waters >3°C above normal. This evidence of a spawning event for a tropical species in temperate waters highlights the need to prepare for more incursions of this kind given predictions of climate change. © 2012 REABIC.

Leporati S.C.,Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories | Hart A.M.,Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories
Fisheries Research | Year: 2015

An array of direct and indirect ageing methodologies have been trialled to rapidly, reliably and accurately determine the age of octopus species. The collective results of these efforts have largely led to compromising between time/cost and accuracy/precision. By combining direct and indirect methods, the suitability of stylet (internal shells) weight as a proxy for age was tested on Octopus (cf) tetricus, a merobenthic species (with paralarval stage) endemic to the west coast of Australia. Captive animals were injected with calcine to mark their stylets, confirming that stylet increments were formed daily. Stylet Increment Analysis (SIA) was applied to directly age 251 wild caught octopuses. Estimated age (days) and stylet weight (g) demonstrated a strong power curve relationship for both females and males (r2=0.94 and r2=0.88, respectively). Application of stylet weight as a proxy for age enabled a further 3280 octopuses to be aged. Maximum ages for females and males were 542 and 677 days, respectively. Age was found to be strongly related to mantle length for both sexes across all ages, indicating that wild merobenthic octopus populations may have stronger length-age relationships than captive growth studies suggest. Initial observations suggest that females may cease forming stylet increments at the onset of spawning. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

A recent global quantitative assessment suggested that “the majority of shark populations will continue to decline under current fishing pressure” (Worm et al. 2013:198) and concluded that global shark mortality needs to be drastically reduced to rebuild populations and restore marine ecosystems with functional top predators. The high exploitation rates inferred by the authors are alarming and, if accurate, justify the increased concern of the global conservation community. To assess the generality and accuracy of this work, I critically evaluate the assumptions and validity of the extrapolations made by the authors. This global study provided a valuable overall perspective on the highly relevant topic of shark conservation; however, the generalizations made carry substantial uncertainty that was not accounted for. My review aims to place the conclusions drawn by the authors into perspective, highlighting numerous factors that, having been considered, would have significantly affected their claims. © 2015, Taylor and Francis Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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