FISH stocks have mostly improved in Commonwealth waters over the past year researchers have found, yet 13 key fisheries are still classified as "overfished".
The annual report card on fish stocks, by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Science (ABARES), showed improvements on the previous year's figures and a reduction in the number of fish species classed as "uncertain" in status.
Of concern though, fisheries such as southern blue fin tuna, orange roughy, toothfish and eastern gemfish were again found to be at major risk of overfishing, scientists reported.
The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) says urgent action is needed to boost fish stocks and meet increasing public concern that seafood is sustainable.
"We routinely hear that Australia's fisheries management is the best in the world," AMCS director Darren Kindleysides said.
"The science tells a different story, 13 Commonwealth fisheries are still in real trouble."
Mr Kindleysides said conservationists were pleased to see the total number of overfished Commonwealth fisheries edging down.
"There is also now less uncertainty around stock levels with fewer Commonwealth fisheries catching fish without knowing what the health of the targeted fish stocks is," he said.