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This Discussion Paper was contracted by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to obtain an impartial and unbiased account of the circumstances perceived to exist in the Northumberland Strait at this time, based upon factual evidence readily available at this time. It is meant to be deliberately provocative in nature in order to prompt thinking beyond the conventional norms of single-species based scientific assessments. It is also intended to try and connect environmental variables that may be recognised as of concern to ecosystems but that may not normally be perceived as important control factors in the health and productivity of commercial stocks. The views stated and the concepts proposed are not necessarily those of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The Department encourages readers to challenge these findings and offer their own opinions and relevant facts in an open and free discussion.