Indicator: BD-23 Some selected nationally significant native terrestrial species subjected to harvesting and population trends
The 2001 State of the Environment (SoE) Biodiversity theme report provided a significant amount of information on wildlife harvesting and the economic value of species and ecosystems.
The harvesting of native flora and fauna for domestic and export purposes is controlled by various legislation in each State and Territory.
The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 regulates the commercial export of most wild harvested native plants and animals (including their products) from Australia. The Act also bans the export for commercial purposes of live native vertebrate animals, except fish. Wild harvested specimens may be harvested after the appropriate permits have been obtained under a management program.
A significant number of species used for trading are protected under national legislation through approved management plans
|State||Program Name||Species||Approval Period|
|New South Wales||Kangaroo||Macropus rufus
Macropus robustus robustus
|1 January 2002||31 December 2006|
|Protected and Threatened Plants in the Cut Flower Industry: Management Plan 2002-2005||23 August 2002||30 June 2005|
|Northern Territory||Management Program for Crocodylus porosus and Crocodylus johnstoni in the Northern Territory of Australia (1999)||Crocodylus porosus Crocodylus johnstoni||1 January 2004||Approval of a revised plan|
|Queensland||Wildlife Trade Management Plan for Export - Commercially Harvested Macropods||Macropus rufus
|1 January 2003||31 December 2007|
|South Australia||The Macropod Conservation and Management Plan for South Australia||Macropus rufus
|1 January 2003||31 December 2007|
|Tasmania||Brushtail Possum||Trichosurus vulpecula (Kerr)||1 January 2000||31 December 2004|
|Tree-fern||Dicksonia antarctica||19 December 2001||31 December 2004|
|19 December 2001||31 December 2004|
|Western Australia||Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus) Management Plan for Western Australia||Macropus rufus||1 January 2003||31 December 2007|
|Grey Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus) Management Plan for Western Australia||Macropus fuliginosus||1 January 2003||31 December 2007|
|Western Australia Flora||1 July 2003||30 June 2008|
Source: Department of the Environment and Heritage 2005, Approved wildlife trade management plans, viewed 26 Sep 2005, http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/trade-use/sources/management-plans/index.html#plans
Harvest of all waterfowl species in Queensland 1983—2000
Source: Environmental Protection Agency 2002, Conservation and management of duck and quail in Queensland 2000-2005, viewed N/A, http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/publications?id=1252, Figure 6 page 6
Kangaroo species that are subject to commercial harvesting are common species. Before approving any management plans that allow for the commercial harvest and export of kangaroos or kangaroo products, the Australian Government considers factors such as kangaroo biology, population size and trends and conservation status of kangaroo species.
At least 25 years of robust population survey data exists. Survey methods vary between and within states depending on the geography of the survey sites, the characteristics of the species and the intensity of the harvest. New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia predominantly use fixed-wing aerial surveys, with helicopter and ground surveys used in difficult terrain. Queensland mainly relies on helicopter surveys. Survey frequency varies between one and three years.
Commercial kangaroo harvesting in Australia has been sustainable for more than 25 years, covering several drought periods including the 1981-1983 drought. Current management plans incorporate provisions appropriate to the current drought. Kangaroos have the ability to adjust their reproductive cycle very rapidly to changing environmental effects and are uniquely adapted to the highly variable Australian climate.
The scientific community and state management agencies consider that annual harvest levels in the order of 15 per cent of the populations for grey kangaroos and wallaroos, and 20 per cent of red kangaroo populations are sustainable.
(Euro / Wallaroo)
|1991||1 365 716||1 270 877||158 213||113 791||4 226||2 912 823|
|1992||1 308 140||1 183 681||182 814||139 943||2 071||2 816 649|
|1993||1 319 693||1 273 922||207 397||172 449||2 737||2 976 198|
|1994||1 425 553||1 328 561||311 504||225 644||1 965||3 293 227|
|1995||1 435 614||1 306 747||301 405||214 916||1 766||3 260 448|
|1996||1 447 698||1 066 364||353 650||232 502||909||3 101 123|
|1997||1 171 300||704 137||264 656||148 803||791||2 289 687|
|1998||1 344 214||800 707||242 630||204 789||217||149||70||2 592 776|
|1999||1 278 469||925 946||240 727||152 782||1 279||421||515||2 600 139|
|2000||1 173 242||1 106 208||227 552||238 439||357||584||20||2 746 402|
|2001||1 364 682||1 438 280||283 332||296 805||256||6 884||2 020||3 392 259|
|2002||1 500 588||1 810 426||330 372||257 140||190||4 392||2 169||3 905 277|
|2003||1 121 724||1 758 173||246 672||347 914||0||0||0||3 474 483|
|2004||988 203||1 466 325||233 496||304 047||0||0||0||2 992 071|
|2005||1 045 048||1 487 652||257 422||322 222||0||0||0||3 112 344|
|2005 Commercial Kangaroo harvest quotas|
|NSW||445 300||550 820||143 963||35 616||0||0||0||1 175 699|
|Qld||472 332||1 081 340||0||338 279||0||0||0||1 891 951|
|SA||237 600||0||97 900||76 400||0||0||0||411 900|
|WA||250 000||0||180 000||0||0||0||0||430 000|
|Total||1 405 232||1 632 160||421 863||450 295||0||0||0||3 909 550|
Source: Department of the Environment and Heritage 2005, Kangaroo harvesting statistics, viewed 7 Nov 2005, http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/
The population size of harvested kangaroos has fluctuated in areas of Australia over the past 25 years, depending on seasonal conditions.
The quota is the maximum number of animals that can be killed and is set independently of industry demand. The number of animals killed during a year rarely amount to the quota as these are directly linked to market demand, and the capacity of the industry to harvest the quota level. State-wide quotas are rarely met although they may be met for a particular zone. Over the last five years (2001-2005), the numbers of kangaroos harvested have been on average 63% of the annual quotas.
Numbers of waterfowl harvested in Queensland have decreased to about a quarter of the number harvested in 1985, although the number has fluctuated considerably over the period.
The indicator requires populations and trends in abundance and distribution of harvested species.
In the case of the commercially harvested kangaroos there are over 25 years of population and harvest data. Population data is collected through population surveys. Harvest data is compiled from reports submitted by the harvesters and processors and include: numbers killed, sex of animal and carcass weight. The data is used in setting of quotas.
Currently much of the data is not publicly accessible. On a state-wide basis, population data (from 2001), quotas and numbers killed are available on the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Water Resources website.
Data on trends in abundance and populations of harvested species would give some indication of whether harvesting is sustainable.
Other indicators for this issue:
- LD-10 Number of compounds from terrestrial sources at some stage of commercial development
- CO-07 Australian fisheries production - national tonnage and value of retained catch
- CO-09 Number of compounds from coastal and marine sources at some stage of commercial development
- CO-16 Status of Australian fisheries
- CO-17 Change in species and trophic structure of fish species caught
- CO-19 Estimated tonnage taken by illegal fishing; estimated number of illegal boats, estimated number of individuals of threatened species taken
- CO-20 Non-target effects: Area of seabeds trawled
- CO-21 Non-target effects: Number and/or weight taken as bycatch, and change since introduction of exclusion devices
- CO-32 Number of injuries to marine animals from marine debris
- CO-62 Estimated number of marine animals harvested by recreational fishers
- CO-63 Estimated number of marine animals harvested by indigenous fishers
- CO-65 Correlation between various human activities and introduction of coastal and marine species
- AAT-19 Annual catch in tonnes of marine species harvested in Australian Antarctic and sub-Antarctic waters - legal and illegal
- AAT-20 Fishing by-catch numbers and/or weight taken as bycatch
Plants and animals both farmed (agriculture) and wild are harvested from the land for human use. Data on these harvesting activities is needed to monitor their contribution to human life.
Other indicators for this issue:
- LD-08 Average tonnage and value of food produced per hectare of land under food production
- LD-09 Average tonnage and value of other (non-food) agricultural products per hectare of land under production
- HS-48 Material Flows in Human Settlements
- LD-19 Land use and land use change
- General information on the kangaroo harvest
- Kangaroo population estimates
- Kangaroo harvesting statistics
- Is Australian Wildlife Fair Game?
The text appearing in the section entitled "What the data mean" and "Data Limitations" has been altered to reflect the view of the Department of the Environment and Water Resources that kangaroo population trend data are adequate to conclude that kangaroo harvesting is sustainable. Links have also been added to kangaroo population data by States.