Latin names: Genypterus blacodes
Common Names: Ling
Wild Caught - Australian and Imported
- Commonwealth Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (Commonwealth Trawl and Gillnet Hook And Trap Sector) (912t 2016-17)
- Imported New Zealand (14,654t caught 2015-16; 1,149t imported into Australia in 2016)
In Australia, pink ling is caught in trawl and line fisheries managed by the Commonwealth Government. Although the species is managed as a single unit, recent research indicates there are 2 separate stocks of pink ling. The abundance of fish in the eastern part of the fishery is depleted and rebuilding of the stock is required, although the stock in the western area is in a healthier state. Some management measures have been imposed to constrain the catch of the eastern stock, but it is unclear if this will be successful in allowing rebuilding.
There is some concern about overlapping distribution of trawl areas and sensitive marine habitats. Trawling sometimes takes place on areas of seafloor that support sponges, hard corals and bryozoans (small invertebrates that form colonies similar to coral reefs) and it is unclear how much trawling activity is resulting in damage to habitats and associated species.
A number of threatened species are caught in the trawl and line fisheries, including Australian fur seals and seabirds, although industry has been proactive in attempting to reduce interactions. Several species of threatened deepwater gulper sharks, commonly known as dogfish, are also caught. These dogfish were once targeted in fisheries to a point where the level of fishing depleted many of these shark species to low levels. Area closures have been recently put in place to protect these sharks, but the success or otherwise of this measure won’t be clear for some years.
In New Zealand, pink ling is caught in trawl fisheries that mainly target hoki (blue grenadier), as well as on longlines. Estimate of stock status in New Zealand indicates healthy stocks in most fishing areas. There is a high bycatch of threatened seabirds in both the trawl and longline fisheries.
The trawl fishery catches a number of endangered seabird species, including white-capped, Buller's and Salvin's albatross, petrels and shearwaters. Risk assessments have identified that Salvin’s albatross is at risk of further population decline and white-capped albatross are in decline as a result of fishing activities. Seabird bycatch has increased over time, with recorded seabird captures in 2014-15 the highest in a decade. Bycatch of Salvin's albatross (which are listed as 'Vulnerable' on the IUCN Red List) and sooty shearwaters increased in this fishery in 2010-11. Risk assessments have identified that Salvin’s albatross is at risk of further population decline as a result of fishing activities. Use of mitigation devices that reduce seabird interactions are in place. Bycatch of seabirds has declined from 2015, but continues to be unacceptably high and likely resulting in the ongoing decline of threatened and protected seabirds.
The rate of seabird interactions (the numbers of seabirds caught per fishing hook) has increased since 2013 in the longline fishery. In particular, Salvin’s albatross populations may be declining as a result of this fishery. Salvin’s albatross is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List.
Pink ling is trawled both on and above the seafloor over a large area of NZ’s oceans. Seabed mapping of the trawled area is limited, but sensitive seafloor-dwelling species (corals and sea fans) have been identified in both mapped areas and in trawl nets, which means that fishing activity is directly threatening these long-lived, sensitive species. The impacts of longline fishing are less understood but are likely lower than trawl fishing. There are few areas protected within fishing depths, although Marine Protected Area Network planning is underway in NZ, which should protect sensitive marine habitats.