Media Release

​Sustainable southern bluefin tuna industry scaling new heights

30 November 2015

Australia’s southern bluefin tuna (SBT) industry is on track for another good season with the catch limit for the 2015–16 season remaining at the highest level since the 1980s. The season will start tomorrow with a catch limit of 5665 tonnes.

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, said that this comes off the back of a great season this year with sustainable catches higher than they have been since 1989.

“The results we are now seeing happened because of action led by industry and the Australian Government to get global catches under control and rebuild the species,” Minister Ruston said.

“By using the latest in science, and making tough decisions when they were needed, Australia now has a healthy, sustainable and competitive SBT fishery.

“The sustainable catch limit for SBT has increased by more than 40 per cent since 2012 and has been carefully managed to continue its significant contribution to Australia’s exports and jobs in South Australia and beyond.”

CEO of the Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association, Brian Jeffriess, echoed the comments of Minister Ruston stating that the industry was constantly looking for new and innovative solutions to ensure the sustainability of the fishery.

“We’ve come a long way in our SBT fishing operations,” Mr Jeffriess said.

“We are continually improving our catching techniques to ensure minimal impact on the marine environment, and also so that SBT are in the best condition for a better market price.

“Moreover, we need continue to be precautionary in setting catch limits for the long-term future of the SBT fishery. 

“The livelihoods of many hundreds of South Australian families working in the tuna industry all depend on a healthy resource and a profitable fishery.”

Around 90 per cent of Australia’s SBT harvest are currently caught and kept alive before being carefully towed to Port Lincoln in pontoons where they grow for 3 to 6 months before being exported to Japan and other markets, including China.

For more information on AFMA’s management of SBT visit afma.gov.au​.