Cold currents see change to tuna zones off East Coast
The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has revised arrangements for conserving southern bluefin tuna (SBT) stocks as cold ocean currents sweep north up the East Coast of Australia.
In June this year AFMA announced arrangements for conserving southern bluefin tuna (SBT) stocks off the East coast of Australia, which included establishing ‘zones’ in which precautionary management measures are applied to avoid the accidental capture of SBT.
AFMA Managing Director, Mr Richard McLoughlin, said Australia is part of an international agreement, through the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT), which recognises SBT stocks are overfished. Australia is allocated a portion of the total international catch which is passed onto Australian fishers in the form of SBT quota.
“Due to the overfished status of SBT, Australia must ensure it plays its part in conserving the species by not exceeding its quota and breaking the international agreement.
“The latest scientific advice has shown that cold currents are stretching a long way north this year. As SBT follow the colder currents, the zone limits have been moved north to ensure stocks are conserved.
“To ensure the impact on the fishing industry is minimised as much as possible, AFMA undertakes a full review of the location of the zones every two weeks from May to October. That way we can quickly identify any changes in possible SBT movements that may allow the measures to be eased.”
Commencing on Friday 29 July, the c ore zone Northern boundary will move to at the coastline of east Australia with the parallel of latitude 28 degrees 30 minutes South; from there east along that parallel to its intersection with the meridian of longitude 154 degrees East; from there south along that meridian to parallel of latitude 31 degrees South; and from there east along that parallel.
The buffer zone is all waters east of the meridian of longitude 154 degrees East, south of the parallel of latitude 30 degrees South and north of the parallel of latitude 31 degrees South.
“The location of zones is based on a range of scientific information and independent observers, industry information and the use of a sophisticated CSIRO model which analyses data such as sea temperatures and the movements of ‘tagged’ SBT,” Mr McLoughlin said.
Under the new arrangements, minimum SBT quota holdings apply to fishers operating in the core and buffer zones- 2 tonnes in the core zone and 500 kgs in the buffer zone. Operators in the core zone also require 100% observer coverage, with 25% coverage applying to those fishing in the buffer zone.
Map of core and buffer zones, 177kb
Statement ends/28 July 2005
Contact: Clare Hogan, Communications, Telephone: (02) 6272 4511, Mobile: 0403 068 013
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