The diverse and often complex essential components of successful marine stock enhancement are briefly reviewed. Progress on a project to enhance the New South Wales blacklip abalone (Haliotis rubra) fishery is discussed to demonstrate that for sedentary reef invertebrates such as abalone, successful enhancement entails an understanding of recruitment and production limiting factors. These include age and size specific growth and mortality rates. These variables encompass the influence of other species within reef ecosystems, especially predators and species that compete directly with them for space, shelter and food. This discussion is also used to demonstrate that such difficult projects can be facilitated and refined using a simple bio-economic model centered on two interdependent tasks. The first is to minimize net costs per unit of additional sustainable production generated by enhancement. The second is to determine the minimum amount of additional sustainable production required to render a project cost-effective. This first task has, as expected, proven complex and its resolution protracted and expensive, requiring innovative biotechnology and a comprehensive knowledge of the natural biology of blacklip abalone. This discussion principally reflects the perspective of the direct potential beneficiaries of abalone fisheries enhancement, namely commercial and recreational fishers and does not deal extensively with wider views and interests of other stakeholders, namely relevant government agencies and NGOs and the general public.
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Vol. 25 • No. 1