This project is needed for three main reasons:
1. It directly addresses a NT RAC priority in the 2019 call for funding applications relating to improving sustainable yield estimates to inform stock assessment programs for undefined target species and protected species in the Offshore Net and Line Fishery. The project will support sustainable fishing practices for important commercial fisheries in the NT and the development of new commercial opportunities within these fisheries: The impacts of fishery activities on these species, either through bycatch or targeted harvest, are difficult to assess in the absence of information on population connectivity and stock structure.
2. The project will develop capacity for fisheries research and monitoring in NT waters. Genetics methods are widely applied to fisheries research and monitoring and training of an early career fisheries scientist in the application and interpretation of genetic data will be a key outcome of this project.
3. The project will provide key information to support the transition of these species from bycatch to a harvested byproduct species, including an evaluation of leading-edge genetic techniques in fisheries assessment and monitoring.