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Modelling abalone fisheries

Prince, J.D. (1993) Modelling abalone fisheries. In: 1993 Hancock, D.A. (Ed.). Population Dynamics for Fisheries Management. Australian Society for Fish Biology Workshop Proceedings, 23 - 24 August, Sorrento, Western Australia pp. 134-141.

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Abalone are valuable marine molluscs which have been exploited for their meaty foot and bowl-like shell by coastal communities since prehistoric times. In modem times it is particularly Japanese and Chinese ethnic groups which value abalone as ebible symbols of prosperity and well-being. Globally the world's abalone fisheries have had a poor management record. In 1969 the annual global production was about 24,000 t per annum compared with today's 12,000 t (FA0 1963-1984). This decline reflects the decline of the Californian abalone fishery which sustained production from last century through to the middle of this century. In recent times the global decline in abalone landings has also been exacerbated by the gradual decline of Japanese landings despite a 16-fold increase in the amount of juvenile abalone artificially produced and seeded into the environment. Today Japan and Australia dominate world production, each producing about 40% of annual production which is worth approximately $200 million in export income to AustraIia’s rural maritime economies.

The Japanese pioneered abalone research beginning around the turn of the century and continuing until the present day, reflecting the traditional importance they place upon abalone. During the 1960s and 1970s the Japanese used the techniques of Leslie and Davis (1939) and Delury (1947) to analyse seasonal trends in artisanal catch rates and estimate recruitment trends within wild stock fisheries. Through the rigours of translation their diagnosis seems to have been that the artisanal fishery was recruitment overfishing of abalone stocks but that this exploitation could not be controlled. Consequently Japan appears to have diverted abalone research away from wild stock research and into aquaculture research.

Since the 1960s and 1970s general understanding of abalone biology in the west has increased considerably and this has been reflected in the development of models to describe abalone stocks.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Publisher: Bureau of Resource Sciences Proceedings. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
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