A sustainable and profitable future for Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery
The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) welcomes the announcement of a structural adjustment package for Commonwealth fisheries by the Australian Government.
The Government’s package and AFMA’s actions to address overfishing represent a turning point for the future sustainability of Commonwealth fisheries and the industry’s competitiveness.
As part of these arrangements, the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery will be managed through input controls or by managing the level of effort, via a formal fishery management plan recently approved by the Minster.
The Board today announced the intention to set the total allowable effort in the fishery to ensure that no more than 7 million hooks can be set in the mainland Australian Fishing Zone and no more than 2.5 million hooks can be set in the remainder of the fishery. This will come into effect following the grant of Statutory Fishing Rights (SFRs) under the Management Plan. This is anticipated to commence in 2007.
The AFMA Board has also agreed to manage the take of broadbill swordfish under catch limits for 2006, and an annual catch limit of 1,400 tonnes for swordfish will be introduced on 1 January 2006.
AFMA’s Managing Director, Mr Richard McLoughlin said these decisions will improve the sustainability of the fishery and allow fish stocks to stabilise.
“These arrangements form part of an overall Government strategy to improve the ecological sustainability and economic efficiency of the fishery.
“We have seen a reduction in stock levels of some species and significant decline in the catch rates of swordfish in recent years. These arrangements will stabilise fishing ahead of further scientific advice on stock status.
“We have drawn on the latest scientific information and considered advice from the Resource Assessment Group and the Management Advisory Committee, prior to setting and implementing these arrangements.
“The hook limit in the ETBF will represent an approximate reduction of 20% in fishing effort in the Australian Fishing Zone. With these arrangements and the Government’s structural adjustment package, we will be able to rebuild fish stocks and continue to work with industry to restore profitability and competitiveness for the industry.”
More details about the adjustment package and management arrangements will be made available in December.
Statement ends/23 November 2005
Contact: Clare Hogan, Communications, Telephone: (02) 6272 4511, Mobile: 0403 068 013
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