Indicator: CO-63 Estimated number of marine animals harvested by indigenous fishers

Data

The survey of Indigenous fishers was conducted only in northern Australia where Indigenous communities represent a relatively large proportion of the population (24% of the Northern Territory population and up to 95% of the population in localised regions along the coast).

Indigenous fishers harvested approximately 3 million aquatic animals from the waters of northern Australia in the 12 months prior to July 2000.

Source: Ed Henry, GW and Lyle JM, 2003, The National Recreational and indigenous Fishing Survey, viewed 24 May 2006, http://www.daff.gov.au/nrifs.

What the data mean

80% of total Indigenous fishing effort occurred in coastal, estuarine or offshore waters. Although the proportion of fishing effort does not necessarily translate directly into a proportion of Indigenous catch, it is reasonable to assume that around 80% of animals taken by Indigenous fishers, 2.4 million animals, were taken from coastal and marine waters (including estuaries, but excluding coastal freshwater bodies).

The Indigenous catch of 3 million compares with 136 million caught by recreational fishers during the same period. Commercial fisheries generally measure their catch in tonnes, rather than individual animals so comparison between the pressure of commercial and recreational or Indigenous fishing is difficult.

Data Limitations

Time series data will be needed to show changes in number of animals caught relative to changes in fishing effort over time. A decline in animals caught without any decline in effort could be indicative of a reduction in fish populations. Such a reduction is more likely to result from other pressures, including recreational fishing, commercial fishing, and marine and coastal pollution, rather than Indigenous fishing itself, given the relatively small proportion of total animals taken by Indigenous fishers.

Issues for which this is an indicator and why

Coasts and Oceans — Direct pressure of human activities on coasts and oceans - Pressure of fishing 

Changes in number of animals harvested by Indigenous fishers is broadly indicative of changes in the pressure exerted on marine ecosystems by Indigenous fishing. Comparison of the number of animals harvested by Indigenous, recreational and commercial fishers also gives a basis for comparison of the significance of these pressures.

Other indicators for this issue:

Biodiversity — Pressures on biodiversity - Pressures on marine biodiversity: pressures of fishing 

All fishing activities place pressure on biodiversity. Changes in number of animals harvested by Indigenous fishers is broadly indicative of changes in the pressure exerted on marine ecosystems by Indigenous fishing. Comparison of the number of animals harvested by Indigenous, recreational and commercial fishers also gives a basis for comparison of the significance of these pressures.

Other indicators for this issue:

Biodiversity — Utilisation and value of biodiversity - Harvesting and trade in wildlife 

Indigenous harvesting of wild fish is the principal Indigenous harvesting of wild animals in Australia.

Other indicators for this issue: