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Keywords:

  • Blacklip abalone;
  • legal minimum length;
  • management strategy evaluation;
  • simulation

Abstract

Industry participation in co-management has become a cornerstone of assessing the blacklip abalone, Halitois rubra, fisheries of South-Eastern Australia. Engaging industry in developing and implementing management strategies is aimed at stemming recent trends of stock depletion and reduced harvest. An alternative to the current strategy for determining harvests is under consideration. A central question is: which management strategy is most likely to maintain sufficient biomass to produce consistent harvest rates into the future? This question is addressed using a Systems Dynamics modeling approach. We evaluated the two strategies of harvest management planning under (i) unchanging environmental conditions and (ii) following a high-mortality event. To assess the performance of each strategy, an existing abalone model was used to estimate yield and mature biomass over three decades (>5 generations). A strategy using mean length of commercial catch as a novel performance measure generally provided a better path to recovery from the high-mortality event than the current harvest threshold strategy.