The use of ITQ management in multi-species fisheries has been the subject of much debate and the complexities and difficulties of managing multi-species fisheries are well known. A major problem is that the species mix in fishery catches may not necessarily match the mix in combined TACs or in quota holdings. While a number of solutions have been proposed or implemented to improve transferability of quota and other incentives to reduce over-quota fishing and discarding, it is surprising that there has been little focus on TAC-setting itself and coordinating this across multiple species/stocks as a means of dealing with some of these issues. In this paper, data were analysed from the trawl sector of the Australian Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery to determine the relationship between primary species and companion species and the implications this has for TAC setting. The primary species is the species being considered when setting an individual species TAC. The companion species are ones that should also be considered when setting the TAC of the primary species, because a considerable proportion of the primary species catch is taken as a companion species non-target catch. The target species in each fishing operation was determined and was used to characterize recent multi-species catch data into primary and companion components. This approach provides an empirical means to examine the impact of individual species TAC decisions across all of the quota species in a fishery.
- Multi-species fisheries