- Environment and sustainability
- Petroleum industry consultation
- Ecological Risk Management
- Strategic assessment
- Bycatch and discarding
- Protected species
- AFMA’s climate change strategy
- Sharing the ocean with other users
- Marine Protected Areas
- Marine Bioregional Planning
- Fisheries A to Z index
- Antarctic fisheries
- Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery (BSCZSF)
- Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands fisheries
- Coral Sea Fishery (CSF)
- Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery (ETBF)
- High Seas permits
- Norfolk Island Fishery
- North West Slope Trawl Fishery (NWSTF)
- Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF)
- Skipjack Tuna fisheries
- Small Pelagic Fishery (SPF)
- Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF)
- Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery (SBTF)
- Southern Squid Jig Fishery (SSJF)
- South Tasman Rise (STR)
- Torres Strait Fisheries
- Western Deepwater Trawl Fishery (WDTF)
- Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery (WTBF)
- Compliance activities
- Harvest strategies
- Antarctic fisheries Harvest Strategy
- Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery Harvest Strategy
- Coral Sea Fishery – Hand Collection Sector: Aquarium Harvest Strategy
- Coral Sea Fishery – Hand Collection Sector: Lobster and Trochus Harvest Strategy
- Coral Sea Fishery – Hand Collection Sector: Sea Cucumber Harvest Strategy
- Coral Sea Fishery: Line, Trawl and Trap Sectors Harvest Strategy
- Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery Harvest Strategy
- Northern Prawn Fishery Harvest Strategy under Input Controls
- Skipjack Tuna Harvest Strategy
- Small Pelagic Fishery Harvest Strategy
- Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery Harvest Strategy
- Southern Squid Jig Fishery Arrow Squid Harvest Strategy
- Western Deepwater Trawl and North West Slope Trawl Fishery Harvest Strategy
- Data collection
- Opportunity to comment on the transhipment of fish at sea in the Small Pelagic Fishery
- Management Advisory Committees (MACs)
- Resource Assessment Groups (RAGs)
- Coral Sea Fishery Stakeholder Group
- Species workshops
Data collection programs
The main data collection programs conducted by the AFMA include:
- Catch and effort logbooks
- Electronic monitoring
- Compliance monitoring programs (VMS and catch disposal records)
These programs are managed and administered by various areas within AFMA. In addition to AFMA’s data collection programs, various research agencies also conduct a number of independent data collection programs.
Catch and effort logbooks
Good decision-making depends on having good quality information and the logbook program is one of the most important tools for fisheries managers and researchers to ensure accurate and quality data.
Logbook information on catch and fishing effort is used for research purposes and is the major source of data used to assess fish stocks and set sustainable catch limits.
To enable these activities to be undertaken, AFMA provides catch and effort data to scientific and stock assessment groups. Some of our logbooks span decades and provide long-term data sets for identifying fishing trends and assessing the impact of management changes.
Who uses catch and effort logbooks?
AFMA’s logbook program collects accurate and timely catch and effort information from all Commonwealth-managed fisheries.
Catch and effort logbooks are distributed to fishers who are required to fill in the logbook at the end of each fishing day or on a “shot-by-shot” basis as the net (or cage) is brought onboard after hauling.
The logbook provides for the recording of information on the location, time, gear and method of fishing, as well as the catch for each fishing operation. Completed logsheets are returned to AFMA where they are entered into a central logbook database.
Information about the vessel and its gear provide an estimate of the “effort” gone into taking the catch.
AFMA is encouraging the uptake of electronic logbooks as a replacement for paper logbooks.
Does the requirements of catch and effort logbooks change?
Yes. Changes to the data requirements for logbooks are requested by fisheries managers and researchers. This occurs as information needed for stock assessment or for other purposes, changes.
Recently, there has been an increased interest in using logbooks to collect information regarding bycatch (non-target or unwanted species) and other environmental data. Determining those changes requires full consultation with researchers, management and industry to ensure that the data needs are met and are practical.
What is the catch and effort data used for?
Logbook data is used primarily to assist scientists in the stock assessment process, but is also used by other agencies.
These include the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences(ABARES), who uses the data to calculate the Gross Value of Production (GVP) figures for each fishery, and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) which takes account of the information in reviewing AFMA’s performance in managing fisheries.
International obligations may also require Australian fisheries data to be provided to international fisheries management bodies, such as Regional Management Organisations, for stock assessment purposes.
Since 2005, AFMA has undertaken preliminary work and trials of electronic monitoring (EM or e-Monitoring) in selected Commonwealth fisheries.
EM technologies integrate digital video, electronic services and programmable loggers to create powerful data collection tools for the provision of near real time information.
EM can provide independent, reliable, verified and accurate data on the fishing catch, effort and practices of Commonwealth commercial fishing vessels. EM can be used to validate, augment or replace other catch monitoring systems such as logbooks and ‘at-sea’ observes. The EM trials to date generally have been successful. EM has interested industry due to the efficiencies and cost saving gains relative to observers. EM has also interested fishery managers and scientists due the potential efficiencies including better understanding and management of fishing operations and increased data accuracy.
Electronic monitoring pilot project in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery (ETBF) in 2011
A ten vessel EM trial commenced in the ETBF in October 2009 and concluded in August 2010. On the whole, EM systems worked well. Better performance can be expected from other vessels in the fleet using lessons learnt from this trial. The majority of system performance incidents were found to be either installation or service issues that can be corrected in an ongoing program.
The EM system provides comprehensive and continuous sensor data (GPS, rotation and hydraulic pressure sensors). The sensor data provided time and location information on gear setting and hauling activities which also matched the data the observer collected.
Data collected by ‘at-sea’ observers was used as the measure of the accuracy of EM analysis results. A sample of 62 fishing events (shots) was used for a comparison between the data EM provided and the catch data the observer recorded. At the species level, the sample showed a 70.7 per cent match between the EM image results and the observer species records. Observer and EM total fish counts were also very close for the retained catch.
Based on previous EM program experiences, a feedback lsystem is integral in ensuring success of the program. An ongoing EM program in Australian Commonwealth fisheries will implement audit and scoring methodologies that compare fishers’ logbook data with randomly selected portions of EM interpreted data. The auditing process and resultant score is an indicator of the reliability of fishing logs. Reliable fishing logbooks, together with the appropriate checks and feedback loops, continuously improve the integrity of the data.
An AFMA co-ordinated program model is proposed with a focus on EM capacity development and collaborations with stakeholders for effective service delivery.
Voluntary and compulsory EM programs were examined in terms of costs and benefits. The most easily quantifiable benefit from EM is in the form of cost-savings through reduced ‘at-sea’ observer coverage. The benefits of an EM program are sensitive however to effort (fleet size, shots) and level of observer coverage, audit level and observer rates.
The costof increasing monitoring coverage by 1 per cent is also much cheaper with EM systems than with physical observers. EM program savings would therefore be greater in a scenario where observer sampling rates need to be increased in the future.
Other benefits from EM include improved catch and effort information. The potential for behaviour change (e.g. improved logbook reporting) has been observed.
There are further benefits available from EM if other management practices are changed. For example, fisher behaviour change would be greater if EM were also used for compliance purposes. Also, a number of restrictive management tools such as hook limits and fishery closures for certain periods of time can potentially be removed in favour of more outcome-focused methods.
At the macro-fishery level, projected cost-savings and associated benefits of an EM in the ETBF program support its implementation.
The initial equipment, capital and set-up costs however, are expected to inhibit the uptake by all operators.
As such, a voluntary program has been endorsed by the AFMA Commission at it October 2010 meeting. Key areas requiring further development are identified in this report to enable the successful adoption of EM in the ETBF.
Ongoing cooperation between management, industry, scientists and environmental groups remains necessary to meet ongoing monitoring and information challenges in the management of the ETBF and other fisheries. EM can play a significant role in the improvement of desired fishery management outcomes and regulation. AFMA is working towards developing an EM implementation and engagement strategy for Commonwealth fisheries.
The draft ETBF EM project report including reports on EM trials undertaken in Commonwealth fisheries are provided below.
- 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