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Climate change offers opportunities and challenges for kingfish fisheries within NSW, with some changes to the seasonal distribution of fishing opportunities expected.

NSW marine bioregions lie between the coast and the continental shelf.Kingfish (Seriola lalandi) in NSW

Kingfish is an iconic, medium- to large-bodied marine fish species distributed throughout temperate waters in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Kingfish are renowned as excellent sport and table fish and are one of the most popular species targeted within south-eastern Australia by commercial and recreational fishers. The map shows NSW Marine fisheries bioregions. Commercial catch of kingfish has declined in recent years, with 91 tonnes caught in 2017-18 compared with a recreational catch of approximately 129 tonnes in the same period.

What is the NSW DPIRD Climate Vulnerability Assessment? ⏷

Climate change is altering the growing conditions for many commodities across NSW. Primary producers need evidence-based information about the changing climate, and the risks and opportunities it may bring.

The NSW DPIRD Climate Vulnerability Assessments are enhancing the resilience of our primary industries by providing information and data to help the sector better plan for, and respond to, climate change. They have assessed climate change impacts for extensive livestock, broadacre and irrigated cropping, marine fisheries, forestry, horticulture and viticulture, and important biosecurity risks associated with these industries to inform sound planning, risk management and adaptation decisions.

Learn more about the Climate Vulnerability Assessment.

How we assessed climate suitability ⏷

Marine future climate projections were sourced from the World Climate Research Programme, with historical climate data supplied by the Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service. The climate models differ in their projections, giving rise to uncertainty which is reflected in the confidence statements given in brackets in the text. Care should be taken when interpreting these results.

The Climate Vulnerability Assessment is intended to highlight potential industry- or regional-level changes. Intermediate and high emissions scenarios were used in the assessments (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5), but these are not the only future scenarios possible. The inclusion of climate variables important to the commodities production was based on published research, expert knowledge and data quality and availability.

Learn more in the Climate Vulnerability Assessment Project Framework.

Climate impacts: what to expect

Future climate change affects kingfish via rising ocean temperatures, resulting in differing seasonal impacts for fisheries in NSW coastal waters:

  • Summer – The historical climate suitability for kingfish during summer ranges from low-moderate in northern NSW coastal waters, increasing to high-very high in the south. By 2050, central and southern coastal waters are likely to experience minimal negative change in climate suitability (high confidence), with their climate suitabilities shifting to moderate and high, respectively.
  • Autumn – The climate suitability for kingfish during autumn is likely to remain high within NSW coastal waters in 2050, with minimal negative change in northern waters (moderate to high confidence).
  • Winter – The climate suitability for kingfish during winter is also likely to remain high within NSW coastal waters into the future, which is similar to the historical climate suitability for kingfish within this region (moderate to high confidence).
  • Spring – The historical climate suitability for kingfish during spring is high in southern and northern NSW coastal waters and very high in central waters. These levels are likely to remain unchanged by 2050, with possible minimal positive change in southern waters (moderate to high confidence).

Kingfish vulnerabilities

  • Minimal negative changes in climate suitability for kingfish are likely for northern coastal waters during autumn, and central and southern coastal waters during summer. These decreases in climate suitability may lead to minor reductions in fishing opportunity for kingfish during autumn within northern marine bioregions and during summer within central and southern bioregions.

Kingfish opportunities

  • Climate suitability for kingfish in spring is likely to experience minimal positive change within the southern NSW coastal regions, specifically within the Batemans Shelf bioregion and the northern portion of the Twofold Shelf bioregion. These changes may provide even greater fishing opportunities for kingfish off southern NSW in the future.

Adapting to the changing climate

Future changes to distributions and seasonal availability of fish species may require adaptation from fisheries industries, such as adjustment of quota shares or changes to the timing of fishing for particular target species. Recreational fishers may see changes within their favoured coastal regions, including opportunities for catching different species.

Where can I find the climate suitability maps?

Maps of historical and future climate suitability for commodities were produced to demonstrate where in the state a commodity is likely to thrive or else be limited by future climatic conditions. The maps are not provided on these webpages but can be found in the Climate Vulnerability Assessment Summary Report (PDF, 41425.92 KB).

Kingfish Factsheet

(PDF, 852.91 KB)

Summary Report

(PDF, 41425.92 KB)

Related Climate Vulnerability Assessments

Contact us

For more information please email: vulnerability.assessment@dpi.nsw.gov.au