The South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) Fisheries Science Program provides scientific advice to State and Commonwealth Governments about the sustainable management of Australia’s fisheries resources.

Our expertise includes studying the life history and ecology of commercially and recreationally important fish species to determine the effects of fishing on fish populations and ecosystems.

Our scientific findings are published in peer-reviewed reports and national and international journals. We also undertake additional projects and collaborate widely with other research agencies.

SARDI fisheries scientists specialise in:

  • stock assessment of commercial and recreational marine and inland waters fisheries
  • biology and ecology of marine fishes and invertebrates
  • monitoring the recruitment and survival of juveniles
  • analysising fishery-dependent data
  • conducting fishery-independent surveys
  • developing harvest strategies for numerous species including
    • rock lobster
    • abalone
    • prawns
    • sardines and other marine and estuarine finfish
    • molluscs
    • crustaceans
  • evaluating fishery performance against management plan performance indicators
  • developing sophisticated stock assessment and bioeconomic models.

Dr Stephen Mayfield leads this program, which has 4 interacting subprograms:

  • Crustacean Fisheries
  • Molluscan Fisheries
  • Finfish Fisheries
  • Fisheries Modelling.

Subprograms and research focus

Crustacean Fisheries

This sub-program focuses on:

  • Southern Rock Lobster
  • Western King Prawn
  • blue crabs
  • giant crab.

Research involves analysis of data from logbooks, voluntary catch sampling, puerulus monitoring and fishery-independent surveys. Key outputs are real-time fishing strategy development with industry and fishery assessments against biological indicators of stock status.

Subprogram contact

Dr Adrian Linnane (PDF 403.5 KB)
Phone: (08) 8429 0989

Molluscan Fisheries

The program focuses on providing scientific advice relevant to the ecologically sustainable management of molluscs in South Australia.

Our researchers conduct fishery-independent surveys and use fishery-dependent data and to assess stock status.

This subprogram undertakes research on molluscs in southern Australia.

Key species include:

  • greenlip and blacklip abalone
  • bivalves including cockles and scallops
  • cephalopods including southern calamari, giant cuttlefish and squid.

The subprogram also undertakes projects and collaborative research to keep South Australian molluscan research at a world class standard.

Subprogram contact

Dr Stephen Mayfield (PDF 383.8 KB)
Phone: (08) 8429 0734

Finfish Fisheries

This subprogram conducts research into finfish resources across temperate Australian waters. Our research covers species including:

  • King George Whiting
  • Snapper
  • Souther Garfish
  • Sardine
  • Blue Mackerel
  • Australian Anchovy
  • Blue Sprat
  • Whitebait
  • Mulloway
  • Yellow Eye
  • Mullet
  • Flounder
  • Black bream.

We also conduct research on South Australia’s sardine fishery and the Commonwealth Small Pelagic Fishery.

Our research also covers the South Australia’s multi-gear marine scalefish fishery. We primarily focus on the population dynamics and fisheries biology of King George whiting, snapper and garfish and key commercial and recreational estuarine fish including mulloway, yellow-eye mullet, flounder and black bream. Our focus is on South Australia, especially in the Lower Lakes and Coorong.

Subprogram contact

Dr Mike Steer (PDF 379.4 KB)
Phone: (08) 8429 0333

Fisheries Modelling

This subprogram provides modelling and statistical services to other fisheries subprograms.

Our team:

  • develop and maintain fishery models
  • design surveys and methods of survey data analysis:
    • to estimate performance indicators, including stock abundance and levels of exploitation
    • for assessment of local and interstate fisheries from multiple data sources.

We develop and apply bioeconomic models and other methods to support fishery managers and industry. Focus is on management strategies that enhance both stock sustainability and economic return.

Subprogram contact

Dr Richard McGarvey (PDF 378.0 KB)
Phone: (08) 8429 0573


Specific details of our collaborative partnerships and projects are in the capability statements for each subprogram.

Program contact

Dr Stephen Mayfield (PDF 383.8 KB)
Science Leader, Fisheries
SARDI Aquatic Sciences
PO Box 120, Henley Beach SA 5022

Phone: (08) 8429 0734
Fax: (08) 8207 5415

Page Last Reviewed: 22 Nov 2016
Top of page