AFMA Update

Volume 7, Issue 8, Thursday 29 April 2010 [see previous editions]

Co-management trial port visits in the Great Australian Bight Trawl Fishery

Co-management participants

All four Great Australian Bight trawl boats were unloading at Port Lincoln and Ceduna, South Australia on the weekend of the 26-28 March 2010, providing a great opportunity for AFMA to meet with people at the
grass-roots level of the fishing industry. 

Shalan Bray and Jill Harrap of AFMA’s co-management section, and Jeff Moore, Executive Officer of the Great Australian Bight Fishing Industry Association Inc (GABIA), met with each of the boats as they unloaded.

Skippers and crew were asked for feedback and input on the new Boat Operating Procedures Manual, which is being developed as part of the co-management trial in this fishery.

The manual aims to provide an on-board 'one-stop-shop' for the information needed to operate a boat in the fishery.

The skippers and crew provided valuable feedback which has been incorporated into a revised draft. The manual is expected to be finalised in early May 2010.

The port visits were a valuable experience for AFMA, GABIA and GAB trawl fishers. All stakeholders intend to continue building collaborative relationships, from the 'grass-roots' to management, to ensure a sustainable and profitable future for the fishery. 




Diary dates

May 2010

4 - Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery Resource Assessment Group (ScallopRAG) meeting (Melbourne)

5-6 - Small Pelagic Fishery Management Advisory Committee (SPFMAC) meeting

6-7 - Northern Prawn Fishery Resource Assessment Group (NPRAG) meeting (Cleveland)

27 - AFMA Audit and Risk Committee meeting

GOFish training available

AFMA's Licensing staff will shortly be visiting a number of fishing ports to conduct training in the use of GOFish, our new online business facility.

During May 2010, we will be visiting the following destinations:


Monday 3 May - Friday 7 May 2010

Eden, Bermagui & Ulladulla NSW

Monday 10 May - Friday 14 May 2010

Sydney and Wollongong NSW

Monday 17 - Friday 21 May 2010

Mooloolaba and Brisbane QLD


Perth and Fremantle WA
TBA Port Lincoln SA

If you would like to attend a training session or would like further details, please contact AFMA Licensing on 1300 723 621 or

For more information about GOFish is available on AFMA's website.


AFMA at the Queenscliff Seafood Show

 (R) Roy Palmer (Seafood Services Australia with (R) Tim Dawson (AFMA)AFMA was once again a sponsor of the Queenscliff Seafood Show this year, manning a display stand and participating in the charity events over the Easter break. AFMA received a very warm welcome from the public, commercial fishers, and industry representatives alike.

With some 12,000 people at the event's Good Friday charity appeal, AFMA’s staff talked themselves hoarse letting visitors to the AFMA display know about the collaborative work AFMA and industry do. Children and adults left the AFMA stand with a better knowledge of how the Commonwealth Fisheries operate, their importance to Australia and how AFMA is working to protect our fishing future.

It was a great event with a great audience eager to learn about AFMA’s success in deterring illegal foreign fishers, our trials in co-management with industry, and our continuing work to maintain sustainable fisheries in Australia.

Heidi Prislan (AFMA) talks to commercial fishersFor more information, please contact Tim Dawson, Media Manager, on (02) 6225 5541, 0447 942 840 or





AFMA and industry giving Seafood Directions

AFMA and the Great Australian Bight Industry Association Inc (GABIA) presented at the Australian Seafood Industry National Conference – Seafood Directions, in Melbourne between 14-16 April 2010. The conference theme was Connecting the Supply Chain and the presentation focused on co-management and its role in the supply chain.

Co-management makes a paradigm shift in fisheries management from a system of government consulting with industry on decisions, to a collaborative system where industry and government make the decisions together. Collaboration allows industry greater autonomy in managing the day-to-today practices of the fishery, something they can do best.

Co-management is currently being trialled in three Commonwealth Fisheries, the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (out of Lakes Entrance), the Northern Prawn Fishery and the Great Australian Bight Trawl Fishery.

The trials are almost in their last year and the rewards of the hard work by AFMA’s co-management team of Shalan Bray, Jill Harrap and Steve Bolton, industry co-investigators Jeff Moore (GABIA), Annie Jarrett (NPF Industry Pty Ltd) and Dale Sumner (Lakes Entrance Fishermen's Co-operative Society Limited), and the fishers involved, is being seen.

AFMA also held a stand at the conference, with attendees able to talk to AFMA staff and commissioners about the work AFMA is doing.

For more information, please contact Tim Dawson, Media Manager on (02) 6225 554, 0447 942 840 or


Developing complementary fisheries arrangements with NSW for SESSF quota species

AFMA and Industry & Investment NSW are working to develop complementary management arrangements for Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF) quota species.

The aim is to develop a fixed catch sharing agreement between NSW and Commonwealth fishing sectors, supported by a single stock assessment process.  

Preliminary advice is currently being sought on the concept from relevant stakeholder advisory bodies, including South East Management Advisory Committee at its meeting on 29-30 April 2010.

It is also proposed to consider, more broadly, options for improving management of fish trawl activities off the south coast of NSW.  To assist, nominations are currently being sought from relevant SESSF concession holders to join a Reference Group which will provide advice throughout the process.

For more information, please contact Steve Auld on (02) 6225 5306 or


Marine bioregional planning update

Areas for further assessment

The Department of Environment, Water Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) released the areas for further assessment in the East Marine Region on 24 March 2010.

DEWHA will be conducting scientific assessments and consulting with community and industry about the possibility of some of these areas becoming marine reserves.

AFMA is able to provide you with your historic catches so that you can see where they overlap with the areas for further assessment.

More information about the Areas of Further Assessment in the East Marine Region is available on the DEWHA website.

For more information, please contact Trent Timmiss, Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery Manager, on
(02) 6225 5313 or, Phil Domaschenz, Coral Sea Fishery Manager, on
(02) 6225 5410 or, or Steve Auld, Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery Manager, on (02) 6225 5306 or


Listing of Porbeagle, Shortfin Mako and Longfin Mako Sharks as migratory species

AFMA is writing to all affected fishers to inform them of the changes in management arrangements resulting from the listing by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts on 29 January 2010 of Porbeagle, Shortfin Mako and Longfin Mako sharks as migratory species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

The listing of the species as migratory species under the EPBC Act is a legislated requirement following their listing on Appendix II of the international Convention on Migratory Species.

While Porbeagle, Shortfin Mako and Longfin Mako sharks are not a target species in AFMA fisheries they may be caught incidentally.

Under the EPBC Act, it is an offence to take, trade, keep or move a member of a listed migratory species.  However, actions taken under accredited fisheries management plans or arrangements are exempt from these offence provisions.  All AFMA-managed fisheries are accredited.

The Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) has advised that this exemption allows commercial fishers to  retain and trade the three shark species that are brought up already dead but requires that live caught sharks must be returned to the sea unharmed.

This also means that all catches of these sharks, whether retained or released, must be reported in the daily fishing log.  AFMA has provided advice to fishers on how best to comply with this requirement.

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact Paul Ryan, AFMA’s Environmental Assessments Manager, on (02) 6225 5366 or


Other fishery updates


TACs set for the Aurora Trough and Macquarie Ridge sector

The AFMA Commission has agreed to Total Allowable Catches (TACs) for Patagonian Toothfish of 140 tonnes for the Aurora Trough sector and 150 tonnes for the Macquarie Ridge sector of the Macquarie Island Toothfish Fishery for the 2010/11 season.

The Commission also agreed that the catch could be taken by longline (as part of a trial) and/or trawl. Industry has advised that the catch from both sectors will be taken in a single longline trip. The longline season runs from 1 May to 31 August. The range of seabird mitigation measures which have applied in the first three years of the longline trial will continue to be applied in the 2010/11 season.

For more information, please contact Peter Neave, Antarctic Fisheries Manager, on (02) 6225 5302 or



Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) zones

The 2010 Information Pack for the SBT zones on the east coast will be available on the AFMA website shortly.

This year’s information pack will include information about the zones, the required quota, the new charging regime and the requirements of the new Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna Catch Documentation Scheme (CDS).

Operators are reminded that this year, AFMA will only be sending Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) messages to those operators that have registered with AFMA. Operators are also reminded that it is still their responsibility to know the location of the zones even if they are not registered. To register, please contact Darci Wallis on (02) 6225 5303 or

The location of the SBT zones will be posted on the AFMA website at least 48 hours before they come into effect. This method will save on costs to the levy base for VMS messages.

For more information, please contact Trent Timmiss, Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery Manager, on
(02) 6225 5313 or



South East Management Advisory Committee (SEMAC)

SEMAC will be meeting on 29 - 30 April 2010 in Melbourne. Items on the agenda will include the Upper-Slope Dogfish Management Strategy, which affects all sectors of the SESSF, and a management strategy to mitigate the impact of gillnetting on sea lion colonies in South Australia. The final agenda and papers are now available on AFMA’s website.

For more information, please contact Beth Gibson, Senior Manager Demersal and Midwater Trawl, on
(02) 6225 5305 or

School Shark workshop

AFMA convened a School Shark workshop with the shark fishing industry on 20 April 2010 in Melbourne. The objective of the workshop was to develop measures to eliminate targeting, and reduce the catch of School Shark to the minimum unavoidable bycatch level duing the catch of Gummy Shark in the Gillnet Hook and Trap Fishery.

Outcomes of the workshop include the development of a list of options that could assist in reducing School Shark catch and a set of criteria to assess each option.

These options will be assessed by the industry association, Sustainable Shark Fishery Incorporated, in consultation with AFMA, and provided to the AFMA Commission for consideration in June 2010.

For more information, please contact Sally Weekes, Senior Fisheries Management Officer, Demersal and Midwater Trawl Fishery, on (02) 6225 5341 or



SPF Management Advisory Committee (SPFMAC)

The SPFMAC will meet on 6 May 2010 at AFMA in Canberra. Key items to be discussed include recommendation of the total allowable catches for 2010/11 and the research plan for the fishery.

For more information, please contact Phil Domaschenz on (02) 6225 5410 or



Independent Allocation Advisory Panel (IAAP)

The NPF IAAP is currently preparing a draft report which considers comments received from statutory fishing right (SFR) holders during the consultation phase from 17 March-16 April 2010. The draft report will be made available for public comment at the end of May 2010.

The IAAP was appointed to advise AFMA on the most appropriate method of translation from current gear SFRs to individual transferable quota (ITQ) SFRs in the NPF.

More information on the NPF IAAP is available on AFMA’s website.



SBT live release

AFMA is currently drafting a review of the SBT live release trial which has been underway since 2008. The trial allowed the live release of purse seined SBT in waters off Port Lincoln in South Australia. The report will include a summary of procedures and some recommendations to improve future releases if the program is continued. The report will be available for public release after it has been formally approved by the SBT MAC later in 2010.

For additional information on the SBT fishery please contact Ryan Murphy 02 6225 5533 or at