Earlier this year, AFMA sought suggestions on the possible source of pieces of green twine – around 400 mm in length – that have been washing up on Macquarie Island over a period of years. It appears as though part of the puzzle may have been solved!
Recently two AFMA Fisheries Officers boarded a South Korean longliner that was fishing for Toothfish in the Southern Ocean. During the inspection they noticed that the vessel attached the hooks to the mainline using short lengths of green poly rope, which is different from the usual Spanish long line system or auto line systems. On-board there were thousands of short lengths of pre-cut twine ready for use as well as those that were attached to the mainline. It is suspected that other fleets may be using similar material.
Macquarie Island and a number of other sub-Antarctic Islands are in the path of the circumpolar current which concentrates marine debris. For example, there have been reports of similar material washing up in South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands over many years.
There were reports of an illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) long line fishing vessel that sank at Kerguelen Island in the Southern Ocean east of Macquarie Island. So it is possible that the green string could be washing ashore from this vessel, or any other vessel passing through the commonly fished Toothfish grounds to the west of Heard and McDonald Islands.
AFMA received many responses and suggestions and we thank all of those who took the time to respond.
For more information please contact Peter Neave, Manager Antarctic Fisheries on 02 6225 5302 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
An industry initiative has led to a Mackerel jigging trial in 2013-14. Last year, AFMA was approached by a squid operator hoping to modify his current squid jig operation to investigate the viability of jigging for mackerel in the Commonwealth Small Pelagic Fishery (SPF).
Following consultation with SPF advisory committees and the AFMA Commission, AFMA have allowed the trial of jigging for small pelagic fish species until 1 May 2014.
AFMA will evaluate the information gained throughout the trial and may introduce longer term arrangements if the method is demonstrated as a sustainable and economic method for harvesting small pelagic species.
Any operator wishing to use jigging in the SPF will need to hold quota for the target species and must also carry an AFMA observer to monitor the operation during the trial period.
Jigging is used to target small pelagic species in fisheries worldwide. It is also commonly used in association with purse seine or mid-water trawl fishing to confirm the species and size of fish in a school.
Jig-caught fish can also potentially attract a higher market price due to the superior quality of the fish caught this way and expand the market opportunities for species such as Blue Mackerel.
Do you have other similar innovative ideas for any fishery that could improve efficiency and cost effectiveness of fishing operations? If so, AFMA would love to hear from you!
For further information please contact Kylie Tonon, SPF Management Officer on 02 6225 5373 or email@example.com.
AFMA is preparing for its third ‘Operation VMS crackdown’ to make sure Commonwealth fishers are abiding by the rules for sustainable fishing.
During June, following the success of similar campaigns, a zero tolerance approach will be taken to non-compliance with VMS requirements, in particular to have a working VMS.
Any boat with a VMS unit that stops reporting during the crackdown will be ordered to stop fishing immediately and be sent back to port until AFMA is satisfied that the boat’s monitoring system is working and being used responsibly.
If any fishers are found to be operating illegally they may be fined and prosecuted. Since 2007 it has been mandatory for all Commonwealth fishing boats to have the monitoring systems in place. This system allows AFMA to track fishing boats by GPS and satellite in real time.
VMS is an essential tool for the sustainable management of Australia’s Commonwealth fisheries as it helps police closed areas, in turn ensuring healthy fish stocks and protecting the rights of fishing operators.
Australia has the third largest fishing zone in the world and with this technology AFMA is able to track and monitor every one of the Australia Commonwealth fishing boats in any part of the fishing zone and even on the high seas.
For more information please contact Tod Spencer, Senior Manager National Compliance Strategy on (02) 6225 5312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more on the VMS crackdown - http://www.afma.gov.au/2013/04/about-electronic-monitoring-and-information-disclosure/
On 18 April 2013, AFMA hosted the inaugural AFMA Stakeholder Forum in Canberra. The panel of five fishery stakeholders representing the Humane Society International, World Wildlife Fund, Commonwealth Fisheries Association, Game Fishers Association Australia and Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation came together to give their views on the future direction of AFMA. Each panel member delivered a short presentation on their priorities and strategies for AFMA.
They were asked to present on three key areas:
- their highest priorities in relation to fisheries over the next 12-24 months;
- what AFMA can do more or less of to improve outcomes for fishers, the community, and the marine environment; and
- what can AFMA do for their organisation.
The session was followed by a panel discussion where members of the audience – which included members from various government agencies – were invited to ask questions.
The panel presented some diverse views on the future of Australia’s fisheries management.
The recreational sector saw value in increased government engagement and wanted to secure recreational fishing rights in recognition of their stewardship of fishery resources.
The non-government environmental organisations wanted AFMA to consult with more transparency and accountability.
The industry representative talked about the need to secure fisheries access rights and reduce the regulatory burden on industry.
There were also many common themes expressed including collaboration across all sectors to achieve greater outcomes and wanting recognition for what each sector can contribute.
The forum provided an opportunity for audience members to hear what stakeholders would like to see in the future of fisheries management in Australia and for panel members to forge relationships and to build networks.
For more information please contact Kerry Smith, Senior Manager Foreign Compliance on 02 6225 5334 or email email@example.com.
Early last year, AFMA entered into two Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with the Northern Territory (NT) Government to supply compliance services.
The MOUs are the first of their kind in the NT and draw on AFMA’s extensive offshore fisheries compliance expertise and vessel monitoring capacity. The MOUs provide a cost-effective solution to offshore compliance, which allows the NT Water Police Section to focus its compliance activities on inshore commercial and recreational fisheries.
Executive Director NT Fisheries, Mr Ian Curnow said “The MOU for the supply of fisheries compliance services between AFMA and the NT Police Fire and Emergency Services and the NT Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries in relation to the NT’s offshore snapper fisheries is working extremely effectively”.
AFMA Senior Fisheries Officer Gavin Lovelock said “Since taking on compliance services on behalf of the NT Government we have developed a good working relationship with stakeholders operating within the two sectors. Compliance levels have been good and operators have engaged proactively with compliance officers to work through any issues”.
For more information please contact Gavin Lovelock Darwin Foreign Compliance Operations (08) 8943 0380 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
AFMA Observer Officer Chris Burns travelled to Viňa del Mar in Chile to participate in the 7th International Fisheries Observer & Monitoring Conference. The forum proved an invaluable opportunity to share ideas on the direction of fisheries monitoring with experts in the field from around the world.
A recurring theme at the conference was the increasing role of e-monitoring in a number of fisheries around the world to collect some data previously gathered by on-board observers. Delegates to the conference agreed that the success of any monitoring program, including e-monitoring or observer programs, depends on understanding both the capabilities and limitations of different approaches and having very clear goals and objectives.
Participants also discussed ways to increase the safety of observers at sea, how to achieve a balance between cost and data quality and how data provided by industry can be used in seafood traceability and fisheries certification.
The conference also highlighted the important role scientific observers play in fisheries research, resource management and the need to carefully balance cost, speed, and accuracy in managing these programs.
For more information please contact Chris Burns, AFMA Observer Program Officer on 02 6225 5506 or email email@example.com.
Surveillance flights have confirmed that fishers have been complying with measures to prevent seabirds from interacting with their fishing gear.
AFMA’s National Compliance team conducts a biennial risk assessment to identify compliance risks across Commonwealth Fisheries. One of the risks identified in the 2011 assessment was the failure to report, and failure to deploy mitigation devices to prevent, interactions with threatened, endangered or prohibited species.
AFMA has been working closely with the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) to ensure that boats in the Commonwealth Trawl Sector are complying with the requirements of their Seabird Management Plans. The surveillance flights are conducted to ensure that trawl boats have their ‘pinkies’ or buoys deployed to prevent seabirds from interacting with their fishing gear.
In February and March, DSEWPaC and AFMA conducted 5 surveillance flights over areas around Tasmania frequently fished by Commonwealth trawl boats. Sixteen Commonwealth trawl boats were observed during these flights and no offences or breaches relating to deployment of seabird mitigation devices were detected.
All boats in the Commonwealth Trawl sector are required to have seabird mitigation devices deployed when actively fishing.
For more information please contact Glen Salmon A/g Senior Manager Compliance Operations on (02) 6225 5395 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The moon calendar – one of the more popular links on our website – is a handy reference for fishers who conduct their fishing activities according to the phases of the moon.
Sticker versions of the calendar are also available and have been distributed to most AFMA concession holders.
For an additional copy of the calendar sticker or if you missed out, please contact AFMA Communications on (02) 6225 5555 or email@example.com while stocks last.
E-monitoring provides not only a cost effective alternative to onboard observers but also provide efficiency opportunities to fishers to assist them in meeting business requirements. It also provides opportunities to audit and verify logbook data submitted by fishers.
E-monitoring uses sensors and cameras to monitor and record information on fishing activity. Once analysed this information contributes to a database which also includes information from observer, logbook and other programs. When no-longer required, the e-monitoring footage is deleted.
AFMA retains ownership of the data including the footage and protects this information according to AFMA policy and Commonwealth legislation requirements. AFMA may be required to disclose e-monitoring and other information where it is necessary to perform its functions under legislation or required by law such as under freedom of information provisions. AFMA cannot disclose any information unless authorised or required by law. In certain circumstances information collected by AFMA may be exempt from legal disclosure on a number of grounds.
E-monitoring has great potential to contribute to AFMA’s data needs and reduce the costs of data collection to industry. E-monitoring can also assist industry to reassure seafood consumers that their seafood comes from a well-managed, sustainable source. AFMA will continue to protect sensitive commercial and personal information consistent with policy and legislation requirements.
Further information on e-monitoring and freedom of information can be found in AFMA’s guide to Freedom of Information arrangements.
For more information please contact Josh Davis, Electronic Monitoring Project Officer, on 02 6225 5339 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior AFMA Fisheries Officer Mick Munn took part in a joint operation to patrol the exclusive economic zone and the adjacent high seas surrounding Solomon Islands and the Vanuatu group of islands.
Operation SOLVAN is a regional maritime surveillance operation aimed at ensuring that fishing vessels in the area are fishing legally. The fishery in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean is diverse, ranging from small scale to large scale operations and is vitally important to Pacific Island countries such as the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Tuna fishing in Pacific Island countries has a rich cultural heritage, is an important source of income and represents a significant renewable resource in the region. During
Operation SOLVAN, two patrol boats ‘Lata’ and ‘Tukoro’ left from the ports of Honiara/Solomon Island and Port Villa/Vanuatu. A total of five Taiwanese and Chinese commercial Longline vessels were boarded, all of which were found to be compliant. These vessels were targeting Bigeye and Yellowfin Tuna, Skipjack Tuna, and had byproduct of Marlin, Swordfish, Mackerel and Shark.
The participation of an AFMA officer in operation SOLVAN provided a valuable development opportunity for Solomon Islands and Vanuatu counterparts to gain exposure to AFMA’s standard operating procedures. The Maritime Surveillance Adviser in the Solomon Islands and in Vanuatu expressed their appreciation and requested that AFMA participate in further joint patrols.
AFMA regularly engages in regional surveillance operations onboard United States Coastguard, French Navy vessels and Pacific Island country patrol boats to help protect tuna stocks and provide capacity building opportunities.
Contact officer Cindy Bravos Manager International Compliance Operations on 08 8943 0355 or email@example.com.
- Changes in the Gillnet, Hook and Trap Sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery to Protect Dolphins
- Draft Shark Plan 2
- Changes in the Gillnet, Hook and Trap Sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery
- Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery Management arrangements booklet 2011
- Freedom of Information