Estimated discards

This page shows the proportion of retained total reported target catch and bycatch and estimated discards according to data collected by government observers.

‘Discard’ refers to fish that are not retained in the landed catch. They may include target species, which might be too small or damaged, and other species, which may be QMS or non-QMS species.

The proportion of retained catch (target species and bycatch) to discards is shown in the charts below over two time periods:

  1. All available data (annual average) - depending on the target fishery being reported on, this is based on data from 1991 to at least 2006 (up to 2013, depending on when each target fishery data were last analysed).
  2. Last five years available data (annual average) - this is from the last five years of analysed data, ranging from the five years ending in 2006, to the five years ending in 2013 (depending on when the target fishery was last analysed). 

Across all years available data, for every kilogram of reported target catch about 0.07 kg is estimated to be discarded.

Estimated retained catch and discards for six key deepwater fisheries 

Last five years available data (average annual catch)

All available data (average annual catch)

Estimated retained catch and discards for six key deepwater fisheries - specific target species 

Last five years available data (average annual catch)

All available data (average annual catch)

Not all key target fisheries (e.g., jack mackerel) are included in these charts because some early analyses were not conducted in a comparable way.

Explaining discards

Commercial fishers may discard (return to the ocean) a part of their catch, which is permissible under the Fisheries Act 1996, and are required to report discards along with other catch data for QMS species.

Discarded fish may be QMS (target or bycatch) species or non-QMS species. Estimates of fish lost from the net at the surface or during retrieval are included in the analyses.

Further information

Read more about how this data are collected and analysed 

More on this topic 

This page is part of a section on deepwater bycatch and discards. 

A deepwater trawl catch. [MPI]