AFMA

Notice – Trade Information Scheme for exports and imports of Southern Bluefin Tuna to be introduced from 1 June 2000

Important Notice to all holders of SBT Statutory Fishing Rights, permit holders in the eastern, southern and western tuna and billfish Fisheries who export southern bluefin tuna and northern bluefin tuna

A trade information scheme for exports and imports of southern bluefin tuna will be introduced from 1 June 2000.

A trade certification scheme has been established by the international commission for the conservation of atlantic tunas (iccat) for Northern Bluefin Tuna.  The proprietors of export registered establishments which export either Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) and/or Northern Bluefin Tuna (NBT) will need to complete an authorised statistical document on an ongoing basis to satisfy import requirements.  The holder of SBT Statutory Fishing Rights or a permit holder will not be required to complete any part of the forms, but it will be in their interest to ensure that the exporter completes the forms.

On 13 April 2000 I wrote to you concerning the requirement to complete a statistical document for exports of northern bluefin tuna (NBT). The procedures described in that letter for NBT will continue until further notice, noting that the Government is seeking to standardise procedures when a trade information scheme is also introduced for southern bluefin tuna (SBT) from 1 June 2000.

Background

Southern Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus maccoyii)

The Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) was formally established by Australia, Japan and New Zealand in May 1994 to pursue the goals of conservation and optimum utilisation of southern bluefin tuna (SBT) through appropriate management arrangements.

For many years the CCSBT has expressed concern about the increasing unregulated catches of SBT by non-members. If left unregulated, non-member catches will continue to have a significant impact on the ability of the SBT stock to recover. It is estimated that the non-member catch totals around 4000 tonnes, over and above the current global total allowable catch for member countries of 11,750 tonnes.

The CCSBT has decided to establish a Trade Information Scheme (TIS) to collect more accurate and comprehensive data on SBT fishing through monitoring trade. The scheme will be an integral part of the SBT management arrangements which are aimed at ensuring the long term viability of this valuable fishery. It has been agreed that the TIS will be implemented from 1 June 2000, and will cover all SBT exported to member countries, principally Japan, but also includes any imports of SBT into Australia and New Zealand.

The Tuna Boat Owners Association of Australia has been closely involved in and supports the introduction of the scheme.

Northern Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus)

As outlined in my letter of 13 April 2000, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) has introduced a trade certification scheme for northern bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus). The species, Thunnus thynnus, is known locally as Pacific bluefin or “jumbo” bluefin. Please note that this does not apply to longtail tuna (Thunnus tonggol) which is known locally as northern bluefin tuna.

While it is recognised that very few NBT are taken by Australian vessels, ICCAT have agreed that these fish need to be accompanied by an ICCAT Bluefin Tuna Statistical Document. Japan will be the principal ICCAT member country to which Australia exports NBT. Other ICCAT members include the United States, Canada, France, Spain, Portugal and South Africa.

How does the TIS work for exported SBT?

From 1 June 2000, the TIS for SBT will require completion of a CCSBT Southern Bluefin Tuna Statistical Document (draft at Attachment 1 for information), which must accompany any consignment of exported SBT with a destination of any other member country, currently Japan and New Zealand.

SBT will not be accepted into those countries unless accompanied by this document.

The form needs to be completed by an authorised signatory of an export-registered establishment. The holder of the SBT Statutory Fishing Rights does not have to complete any part of the form, but it will be in the operators interests to ensure that the exporter completes the form.

The authorised signatory of the export-registered establishment will need to ensure that Sections 1 – 8 of the form are fully completed, noting that the Company Seal needs to be stamped in Section 8. This builds on the system established by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) where export registered establishments are able to export product under an authorised signatory. The form remains with the consignment and the Import Section is completed at the point of import.

The form is used for both farmed and non-farmed SBT, although there are slightly different requirements for completing the form.

  • The requirements for farmed SBT are described in Attachment 2.
  • The requirements for capture (non farmed) SBT are described in Attachment 3.

How does the TIS work for exported NBT?

As I outlined in my 13 April 2000 letter an interim arrangement for exports of NBT is now in place. The Government is looking to standardise the procedures for both NBT and SBT.

When approved by ICCAT, the certification scheme for NBT will require completion of a revised ICCAT Bluefin Tuna Statistical Document (a draft is at Attachment 4 for information), which must accompany each exported NBT (with up to 7 individual fish on the one form).

The form needs to be completed by an authorised signatory of the export-registered establishment. The holder of the Fishing Permit does not have to complete any part of the form, but it will be in the Permit Holders interests to ensure that the exporter completes the form.

  • The requirements for NBT are described in Attachment 5.

The authorised signatory of the export registered establishment will need to ensure that Sections 1 – 7 of the form are fully completed, noting that the Company Seal needs to be stamped in Section 7. The form remains with the consignment and the Import Section is completed at the point of import.

How does the TIS work for imported SBT?

Although unlikely, SBT which are imported to Australia will need to be accompanied by a TIS form originating in the country of export or re-export.

Customs officials will be responsible for ensuring any SBT imported is accompanied by a form and completing the Import Section. The form will then be sent to AFMA who will forward the information onto the CCSBT Secretariat.

What happens to the data?

For NBT, the ICCAT member (principally Japan) will retain the forms that accompany the exported product and provide the information to the ICCAT Secretariat.

The SBT information collected by the importing country will be sent to the CCSBT Secretariat who will develop a central database for monitoring catches and trade. This information will also provide additional data for scientific assessments. The data will provide valuable information on the size of the SBT catches taken by non-member countries, particularly Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia.

Under the agreed procedures for the SBT TIS, Australia will be required to maintain the following aggregated information from tuna farms which raise tuna for export.

  • name of the fishing vessel which caught the tuna for farming;
  • flag country of that vessel;
  • gear code;
  • amount and original size of the catch
  • area of catch;
  • date of reception of the catch; and
  • growth rate and mortality rate of fish through farming.

A separate form is being developed to facilitate provision of this information. The operators of tuna farms will be required to submit this information to AFMA twice annually.

Program costs

As the major costs of the program relate to the SBT fishery, they will be incorporated into the SBT Fishery levy base. The costs of the program will include developing, printing and distributing the statistical documents on an ongoing basis and collating the information as required by the CCSBT. It is envisaged there will be some random audits to ensure the integrity of the program is maintained.

What happens next

The SBT TIS forms will be distributed to the proprietors of export-registered establishments and farm managers in May 2000. The forms will be in the form of a logbook with an instruction template. Each page will be numbered and will be in triplicate.

The original SBT form will need to accompany the consignment, the second copy should be retained by the export establishment and the third mailed back to AFMA. This procedure is the same as that for completion of the catch and disposal records used for quota monitoring.

In the case of NBT, and given the low numbers of fish involved, it is envisaged individually numbered documents will be issued to exporters. Copies of the completed forms will need to be sent back to AFMA.

I will keep you informed of any new developments as necessary prior to the distribution of the forms in May. In the meantime, if you require further information on the procedures for the statistical documents please contact:

Peter Neave
Senior Management Officer, Tuna and Billfish Fisheries
Ph: (02) 6272 5794
Fax: (02) 6272 4614

Adam Stokes
Senior Policy Officer, Fisheries and Aquaculture Branch (AFFA)
Ph: (02) 6272 4981
Fax: (02) 6272 4215

Brian Jeffriess
Executive Director
Tuna Boat Owners’ Association of Australia
Ph: (08) 8373 2507
Fax: (08) 8373 2508

Attachment 2 – Requirements for exports of farmed southern bluefin tuna

The authorised signatory of the export-registered establishment is required to complete Sections 1 – 8 of the TIS form for each consignment from a farm. This may result in several forms accompanying a consignment, and include instances where product from more than one farm is being shipped in a container or loaded on a carrier boat. It is important to note that where an operator owns several farms a separate TIS form is required for each farm.

Sections to be completed

Mark X in the farmed box at the top of the page

  • Section 1- write “Australia”
  • Section 2 – write “farmed fish” below Vessel(s), Registration No(s) and Catch Disposal Record No(s).
  • Section 3 – write your company name, the Farm Licence Number as issued by the South Australian Government and location as “Port Lincoln”
  • Section 4 – if the processing establishment is the same as the exporter write “same as exporter”. If SBT are processed at the farm site please write “processed at farm”.
  • Section 5 – write the location of where the product will leave Australia.
  • Section 6 – refer to the instructions on the form template.
  • Product – identify the product as being either fresh (F) or frozen (FR)
  • Type – identify the type of product being shipped as either round or whole (RD), gilled and gutted (GG), dressed (DR), fillet (FL) or other (OT). For OT describe the type of products in the shipment. Further descriptions are provided on the template.
  • Time of Harvest – leave blank
  • Gear Code – write “farmed”
  • Area of Catch – leave blank
  • Net Weight – write the raised products processed weight in kilograms
  • Number of Fish – if type is RD, GG or DR fill in the number of fish
  • Section 7 – this should be completed by an authorised signatory from the export-registered establishment. Please note, if you are processing the SBT as an export-registered establishment, and are forwarding the consignment to an establishment in Australia that is not export registered or an agent or broker of a freight forwarder you should complete this Section.
  • Section 8 – this section should be stamped with the Company Seal of the export-registered establishment.

Attachment 3 – Requirements for exports of non farmed southern bluefin tuna

These requirements apply for non farmed SBT, and covers catch taken by longline, pole and line, purse seine etc where SBT have not been placed in a tuna farm.

The authorised signatory of the export-registered establishment is required to complete Sections 1 – 8 of the TIS form for each consignment exported to either Japan or New Zealand. This may mean that SBT landed from a number of vessels will be covered on the one form.

Sections to be completed

  • Mark X in the capture box at the top of the page
  • Section 1- write “Australia”
  • Section 2 – fill in the name(s), registration number(s) of the vessel(s) that harvested the SBT and the number(s) of the catch disposal record(s) (CR4) against which the SBT were decremented against quota. Note several vessels can be written here if the SBT from those vessels are to be exported in the one consignment.
  • Section 3 – leave blank
  • Section 4 – fill in the name and address of the processing establishment which processed the SBT in the shipment (if applicable). If the processing establishment is the same as the exporter write “same as exporter”
  • Section 5 – write the location of where the product will leave Australia.
  • Section 6 – refer to the instructions on the form template.
  • Product – identify the product as being either fresh (F) or frozen (FR)
  • Type – identify the type of product being shipped as either round or whole (RD), gilled and gutted (GG), dressed (DR), fillet (FL) or other (OT). For OT describe the type of products in the shipment. Further descriptions are provided on the template.
  • Time of Harvest – fill in the month and year the SBT in the shipment was caught
  • Gear Code – identify the gear type used to harvest the SBT from the list on the template.
  • The likely codes for Australian operations are LL for longline, PS for purse seine, TROL for troll and SURF for surface fisheries unclassified (to cover pole and line).
  • Area of Catch – refer to the statistical areas shown on the map on the template
  • Net Weight – write the processed weight in kilograms
  • Number of Fish – if type is RD, GG or DR fill in the number of fish
  • Section 7 – this should be completed by an authorised signatory from the export-registered establishment. Please note, if you are processing the SBT as an export-registered establishment, and are forwarding the consignment to an establishment in Australia that is not export registered or an agent or broker of a freight forwarder you should complete this Section
  • Section 8 – this section should be stamped with the Company Seal of the export-registered establishment

Attachment 5 – Requirements for exports of northern bluefin tuna

These requirements apply for NBT, and covers catch taken, in most, if not all cases by the longline fishing method.

The authorised signatory of the export-registered establishment is required to complete Sections 1 – 7 of the ICCAT form for each consignment exported. This may mean that NBT landed from a number of vessels will be covered on the one form.

Please note that under Section 5 a separate line is required for each individual NBT. Up to 7 NBT can be covered on one form of a particular consignment.

Sections to be completed

  • Section 1- write “Australia”
  • Section 2 – fill in the name(s) and registration number(s) of the vessel(s) that harvested the NBT. Note several vessels can be written here if the NBT from those vessels are to be exported in the one consignment.
  • Section 3 – leave blank
  • Section 4 – write the location of where the product will leave Australia.
  • Section 5 – a separate row is required for each NBT in a consignment.
  • Product – identify the product as being either fresh (F) or frozen (FR)
  • Type – identify the type of product being shipped as either round or whole (RD), gilled and gutted (GG), dressed (DR), fillet (FL) or other (OT). For OT describe the type of products in the shipment.
  • Gear Code – identify the gear type used to harvest the NBT from the list on the template.
  • The likely code for Australian operations is LL for longline.
  • Area of Catch – write the ocean from which the fish were harvested eg: Pacific.
  • Net Weight – write the processed weight in kilograms
  • Tag Number (if applicable) – leave blank
  • Section 6 – this should be completed by an authorised signatory from the export-registered establishment. Please note, if you are processing the NBT as an export-registered establishment, and are forwarding the consignment to an establishment in Australia that is not export registered or an agent or broker of a freight forwarder you should complete this Section
  • Section 7 – this section should be stamped with the Company Seal of the export-registered establishment.