Volume .6, Issue 8, 21 April 2009 [see previous editions]
Following a successful first year trial of co-management in Lakes Entrance, AFMA is inviting Commonwealth fishers in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF) who operate from Lakes Entrance to join phase 2 of the co-management trial.
The Lakes Entrance trial is part of a broader three year trial of co-management across selected Commonwealth fisheries.
The aim is to develop partnerships between industry and AFMA to encourage greater industry participation in fisheries management and administration, and to look at more efficient and cost-effective ways of doing business.
The second phase of the co-management trial in Lakes Entrance will run from 1 May 2009 to 30 April 2010. Signing on to participate in the trial is voluntary.
If you operate from Lakes Entrance and wish to sign up for the trial, you can do so at an information session at:
10am, Friday 1 May 2009
For further information on signing up for the trial or attending the information session, please contact Steve Bolton, Senior Manager Co-management, on (02) 6225 5328 or Shalan Bray, Manager Co-management, on (02) 6225 5383.
During April, the AFMA Commission considered stakeholder comments on the proposed re-structure of AFMA’s Management Advisory Committees (MACs) and agreed on the next steps to be taken in the rationalisation process.
The Commission decided that over the next two to three months, AFMA will:
This will result in a nine MAC structure operating from 1 July 2009. The plan is to then reduce from nine to six MACs over the following three years.
Later this month, AFMA will call for applications for all Chair/MAC member positions available within the new MAC structure. In accordance with the requirements of Fisheries Management Paper 1 (FMP 1), a selection panel will be established to assess applicants and make recommendations to the Commission for consideration at its June meeting.
During May/June, AFMA is planning to run a competitive process to fill the four largest MAC Executive Officer positions (Tropical Tuna MAC, South East MAC, NORMAC and SBTMAC). The other five MAC Executive Officer positions will be filled by AFMA staff.
For more information about the MAC rationalisation process, please contact Graham Rudd on (02) 6225 5342.
AFMA invites all eligible operators in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery (ETBF) to apply for a grant of Statutory Fishing Rights (SFRs) under the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery Management Plan 2005.
The Statutory Fishing Rights Allocation Review Panel (SFRARP) process for the ETBF has now been completed, and the conclusion of the SFRARP process means that SFRs are now able to be granted.
AFMA has written to eligible operators inviting them to formally apply for a grant of SFRs under the Management Plan. Eligible operators must complete and return to AFMA the application form provided to them, Request for a Grant of Statutory Fishing Rights in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery, no later than 5pm 8 May 2009.
Please note that operators that were the holder of ETBF permits on the snapshot date (30 November 2002) must sign the above request form, even if they have subsequently transferred the rights.
When SFRs are granted, AFMA will allow a period of several months for trading of longline SFRs to occur before the SFRs come into effect. Once SFRs come into effect, AFMA will issue a notice to cease the transitional provisions in the ETBF Management Plan advising that you are required to have either minor line or longline SFRs to fish. This will mean that current ETBF fishing permits will cease to have effect as they are issued under these transitional provisions.
If you currently have an ETBF fishing permit but are not eligible to be granted SFRs, your current fishing permits will cease to be valid once the transitional arrangements are cancelled.
For more information, please contact Trent Timmiss, Manager ETBF, on (02) 6225 5313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A concession holder and his skipper in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery (ETBF) have received convictions for failing to complete logbooks for their fishing activities and for fishing in a restricted zone during August last year.
The concession holder and his skipper pleaded guilty to breaches of their permit conditions which require them to accurately complete logbook records for their ETBF vessel and to comply with core and buffer zone restrictions in place for the fishery.
Failing to keep accurate logbook records of fishing activities and not complying with defined core and buffer zone requirements are offences under the Fisheries Management Act 1991, which AFMA is committed to enforcing.
The concession holder and skipper were found guilty on both counts. The skipper received a $3,000 fine and the concession holder was fined $1,500 plus court costs.
AFMA’s Senior Manager Compliance Operations, John Andersen, stated that this court result provides a timely reminder to all concession holders regarding their obligation to, and the importance of, ensuring logbooks are completed accurately and submitted to AFMA within the designated timeframes.
‘It is the responsibility of the concession holder to make sure that their skippers accurately record information about any of their fishing activities in their logbooks, and have these records submitted to AFMA in accordance with the instructions contained on the logbooks,’ he said.
AFMA reported in AFMA Update during February that it would be commencing a compliance initiative (during the months of March and April) targeting late logbook returns .
‘While the majority of concession holders meet their logbook obligations, there still remains a minority who consistently do not. This is directly passed on to industry through higher levy base fees to meet additional administrative activity costs. So submitting logbooks on time is not only very important for AFMA to meet its statutory obligations, it also directly helps in reducing AFMA operating costs which flows through to concession holders via reduced levy base costs,' he said.
Also, in the ETBF, core and buffer zones restrict fishing activities operate at certain times of the year. These are in place to reduce the incidental take of Southern Bluefin Tuna during their movement up the east coast. Concession holders are required to comply with these restrictions, as outlined by their permit conditions.
‘Concession holders are reminded that AFMA actively monitors these restricted zones and will take action against operators who breach these restrictions zones unless they have obtained prior approval to enter these areas for legitimate reasons. This can be obtained by contacting the AFMA Duty Officer on 0419 205 329.'
AFMA has extended its public comment period for the draft Small Pelagic Fishery Management Plan and draft Strategic Assessment Report (SAR).
Comments should be sent by 5pm Tuesday April 28th 2009 to:
Alternatively fax (02) 6225 5500 or email email@example.com
Copies of the Plan and SAR have been provided to all Small Pelagic Fishery and Informally Managed Fishery permit holders, and those who have registered their interest in the fishery. Copies are also available on AFMA’s website, or contact Kate Dunkerley on (02) 6225 5424.
Macquarie Island Toothfish Fishery start date - The process to change the season start date from 1 July to 15 April has commenced. As it requires a change to the Management Plan, a draft amendment will be soon be released for a 28 day period of public comment. The aim is to have the change made before 1 July 2009, with a start date from 15 April 2010.
For further information about Antarctic fisheries, please contact Peter Neave on (02) 6225 5302 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery (BSCZSF)
2009 TAC - The AFMA Commission met on 9 April 2009 to consider the BSCZSF Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the 2009 season. Prior to determining the TAC the Commission considered the application of the harvest strategy, advice from the Scallop Management Advisory Committee (ScallopMAC) as well as the current market and processing capacity for scallops.
The Commission determined the 2009 TAC for commercial scallops at 2,650 tonnes (including a 150 tonne research catch allowance) and the 2009 TAC for doughboy scallops at 100 tonnes. BSCZSF Statutory Fishing Right holders will be sent information on the management arrangements for the 2009 fishing season in the coming weeks. For further information please contact Shane Gaddes on (02) 6225 5315 or Shane.Gaddes@afma.gov.au.
Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF)
2009 Banana Prawn Season – The NPF banana prawn season is now underway after a 7 April start. The season is open for 10 weeks, with periodic reviews and decision rules allowing for this to be extended or shortened if needed. The first review of the season will occur during the week of the 5 May 2009. For more information, please contact NPF Manager Melissa Brown on (02) 6225 5465 or email@example.com.
Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery (SBTF)
SBT core and buffer zones - AFMA has circulated the Southern Bluefin Tuna Core and Buffer Zones Information Pack to all ETBF operators. The Information pack outlines the management arrangements which will apply to ETBF longline vessels during the winter months when SBT are present off the east coast of Australia.
A copy of the Information pack can be found on the AFMA website. For further information on the SBT Zones please contact Trent Timmiss, Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery Manager, on (02) 6225 5313.
Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF)
SETMAC - The final South East Trawl Management Advisory Committee (SETMAC 100) meeting was held at AFMA in Canberra on Thursday & Friday 16-17 April 2009. The outcomes for this meeting will be posted on the AFMA website. For further information contact Charles Willoughby, SETMAC Executive Officer, on (02) 6295 1295.
GHATMAC - The final Gillnet, Hook and Trap Management Advisory Committee (GHATMAC) meeting will be at the Novotel – St Kilda, Victoria on Friday 24 April 2009 commencing at 9.00am. A draft annotated agenda has been sent to all GHAT concession owners. If you would like to attend the meeting please contact Ian Freeman, GHAT Executive Officer, prior to the meeting on (02) 6649 2361 or 0418 265 558. Alternatively, contact your industry representative.
Management arrangements booklets - The 2009 SESSF and GABT Management Arrangements Booklets are due to be distributed to industry soon. For further information contact Sharon Koh, Senior Management Officer, Demersal & Midwater Trawl, on (02) 6225 5347.
Have you received AFMA Update by email from a friend?