Management of Southern Bluefin Tuna in Australia

The managers of Southern Bluefin Tuna in Australia all have Objectives in their legislation requiring them to manage fish stocks sustainably. In the case of the EPBC Act, there is almost continuous public review of internationally managed species such as SBT.

Southern Bluefin Tuna in Australia is a Sustainable Fishery

The most recent reviews under the EPBC Act have all found that Southern Bluefin Tuna is sustainably managed in Australia, as follows (see

  1. In October 2010, the Minister for Environment (SEWPaC) renewed the authorisation for Southern Bluefin Tuna to export under the Wildlife Trade Operation provisions of the EPBC Act. The renewal is for three years. To gain this approval, Southern Bluefin Tuna has to be sustainably managed in Australia under the stringent sustainability provisions in Section 303FR of the Act.
  2. In October 2010, the Minister for Environment (SEWPAC) listed Southern Bluefin Tuna as conservation dependent. This is for species which had been over-fished but are now being managed sustainably.
  3. In March 2009, the Minister for Environment (Minister Garrett) accredited the Australian SBT Management Plan as sustainably managing the Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery.

Stock Management Arrangements

More Facts About Southern Bluefin Tuna Sustainability

FAQs About SBT Sustainability

How are Southern Bluefin Tuna caught?

Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) are caught using purse seine in South Australia.

On the east coast of Australia they are caught by pelagic long liners.

In the past SBT were caught using the poling method, but this stopped in the early 1980’s.

Recreational fisherman also catch SBT using rod and reel.

Where are Southern Bluefin Tuna ranched or farmed?

Southern Bluefin Tuna are ranched in the pristine waters of the Lower Spencer Gulf, South Australia.

They are held offshore in pontoons on lease sites, which are between 10km and 40km from Port Lincoln.

Locations of lease sites can be obtained from the Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA) public register.

SBT Lease site locations 2013


What do Southern Bluefin Tuna eat?

Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) eat many different kinds of baitfish.

In the ranched environment, approximately 80% of the diet fed to SBT are locally caught Sardines.

Sardines are sustainably harvested from waters in Spencer Gulf and the Great Australian Bight. They are also a natural food source for tuna in the wild.

Sardinops sagax

Australian Sardine Sardinops sagax


Remaining dietary requirements for SBT are met through imported baitfish.

Fish are fed a mixture of frozen and fresh baitfish. Feed may be given to SBT through frozen block feeding, syphoning, bait spinners, shovel or though a shore controlled automated  bait delivery system.