Shoddy science and slippery stats support the super trawler quota

At last we're starting to see the analysis coming through interrogating the slippery statistics supporting AFMA's quota calculations for the FV Margiris. Dr Andrew Wadsley, of Australian Risk Audit has examined the methodology on which the supertrawler's quota for small pelagic fish has been set and come up with some alarming discrepencies which add further weight to the already formidable public and political opposition to the approval of the supertrawler's application to fish in Australian waters.

Dr Wadsley's article in the Tasmanian Times does a great service to the debate by adding some much-needed transparency by providing his analysis in a comprehensive downloadable spreadsheet. He points out that the statistical analysis employed by AFMA includes "outlier" data points. These outliers represent abnormalities in the data collection which skew final analysis results and as such are generally ommited in robust scientific analyses. AFMA's questionable decision to include the outlier data points results in an estimated spawning mass of 140,000 tonnes ... leaving the outliers out, as per standard scientific and statistical practice, results in a significantly reduced figure of between 25,000 and 35,000 tonne.

Translating these figures into recommended biological catch (RBC) of gives between 1,800 and 2,600 tonne - which shows AFMA's Total Allowable Catch recommendation of 10,500 tonne to be off-the charts in terms of anything that might be considered "sustainable" fishing practice. In fact, working backwards from the AFMA recommendation and using the population estimates given when outliers are ommitted, AFMA's currect recommended TAC of would represent between 30 - 42% of the spawning mass. This is effectively in line with fishing quota's set elsewhere in the world where fisheries management has been shown to be anything but sustainable.

Share your outrage at AFMA's use of shoddy science and slippery stats and Take Action now!

and join us at the No Supertrawlers! Rally on Hobart's Parliament Lawn from 11am this coming Saturday 15th September.


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