Latin names: Nelusetta ayraudi
Common Names: Leatherjacket
Wild Caught - Australia
- Commonwealth Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (Commonwealth Trawl Sector and Great Australian Bight Trawl Sector) (618t 2012-13)
Ocean jacket are caught in two different fishing sectors of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF), which is managed by the Commonwealth Government. The species is not specifically targeted in either fishery, but is incidentally caught when fishing for other species and retained for sale. Quantities of ocean jacket caught often exceed that of some of the target species.
Although the stock status of the species has not been formally assessed, fisheries reports indicate the stock is healthy, as information from catch records over the past decade do not suggest any significant decline in abundance. Ocean jacket have a relatively short life span and grow quickly, and the species is not considered vulnerable to overfishing.
As a non-target species with a relatively low value when sold, there is a high likelihood that significant amounts of ocean jacket are discarded from this fishery, although the amount has not been quantified. Because an unknown amount of fish is discarded, managing the stock to ensure fishing pressure is not too high is problematic.
Ocean jacket are caught in trawl fisheries. Seabed mapping of some of the marine habitats that overlap with trawl ground has been undertaken, though is not extensive. High-risk sensitive areas have been identified, for example, areas of seafloor that support sponges, hard corals and bryozoans (small invertebrates that form colonies similar to coral reefs). Trawling in these regions has the potential to destroy these sensitive sea floor species.
Protected species caught in this fishery include Australian fur seals, seabirds (including albatross and shearwaters) and shortfin mako sharks. Inconsistencies between logbook reporting and independent observers have been of concern in the past, however industry bodies have been addressing these inconsistencies through training schemes. Seal Excluder Devices (SEDs), which act as escape hatches for seals that enter trawl nets, are mandatory, and the industry has been proactive in trying to reduce seabird interactions.