Tasmanian waters support extremely valuable commercial fisheries. Based on statistics available from the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries and Water, the Tasmanian finfish production in 2007/08 was valued at $475m, with the total wild catch valued at over $156m and aquaculture at $318m, the highest value of production for any Australian State. Tasmania also supports the largest commercial abalone fishery in the world, with approximately 25% of world production. Other important fisheries include Tasmanian rock lobster, small pelagics and squid. These fisheries provide important socioeconomic support to many smaller communities around Tasmania. Recreational fishing is very popular in Tasmania, with over 25% of residents fishing at least once a year and an estimated annual expenditure of over $200 million. Determining how these industries will be impacted by climate variability requires a significant investment in research and research infrastructure.
Managing climate change in Tasmania has some unique challenges. For example, there is significant interannual variability in the catch of many commercial species, yet with only a rudimentary understanding of how this is connected to variation in the region’s oceanography. Effective management of a changing climate in Tasmania requires more thorough and timely assessments of ongoing changes in our oceans, both physical and biological. Improved projections are also needed to underpin adaptation and possible mitigation.