Latin names: Ibacus alticrenatus, I. brucei, I. chacei, I. peronii
Common Names: Bug
Wild Caught - Australia
- NSW Ocean Trawl Fishery - Prawn Sector (37t 2010)
- QLD East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (96t 2010)
Balmain bugs are caught in trawl fisheries in NSW and QLD, with the majority caught in QLD. The same stock is caught in both states, but managed as separate units. Stocks of Balmain bugs appear healthy, based on information from long-term catch records in the fishery. Undersized bugs are released, allowing them to grow large enough to spawn before being harvested.
Trawling for Balmain bugs can cause damage to seabeds, which is of concern in marine habitats that support sensitive biological communities, for example corals and sponges. In QLD, some of the vulnerable habitat that was historically trawled is now protected in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, but concern remains over the impact of trawling on deep-water areas where the type of habitat affected is unknown, although impacts on sensitive marine habitat are likely. Trawling impacts on vulnerable marine habitats are reduced in NSW as fishing activity is banned in sensitive areas, such as seagrass beds.
Protected species interactions occur in both fisheries. Interaction reports from the NSW fishery indicate that seashorses, pipefish, sharks and rays are commonly caught. In QLD, protected seahorses, sea snakes and pipefish are caught, although there have been efforts to reduce the impact of fishing on these species. The available research indicates that bycatch of protected species is not resulting in declines to threatened species populations