- 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
30 September 2011
- Temporary Order in the Gillnet, Hook and Trap (GHAT) fishery
What is e-monitoring?
Providing data on fishing activity is often a condition of fishing in many AFMA-managed fisheries. AFMA’s electronic monitoring (e-monitoring) systems use sensors to automatically record footage of fishing activity in Commonwealth waters. This footage is stored on a hard drive onboard a fishing boat, while information on the boat’s position and whether the e-monitoring system is working is transmitted back to AFMA by satellite. When the hard drive on the boat approaches capacity, AFMA takes it for analysis. Using sensors to detect when fishing is occurring and computers to analyse the footage at high speed, AFMA is able to make data collection and verification much more efficient and cost-effective for AFMA and operators alike.
E-monitoring has been trialled successfully throughout Europe, Canada, New Zealand and the United States and is currently being used to monitor 12 fisheries in Europe, Canada and the United States.
In Australia, e-monitoring is currently being trialled and implemented in three fisheries:
- implemented in the Gillnet, Hook and Trap (GHAT) sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery in response to Temporary Orders placed on the fishery on 1 May 2011 (protection for Australian Sea Lions) and 23 September 2011 (protection for dolphins)
- trialled in the East Coast Tuna and Billfish Fishery (ETBF)
- trialled in the Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF).
AFMA intends to use e-monitoring to complement existing data collection programs from observers, logbooks and vessel monitoring systems (VMSs). Providing data is often a condition of fishing in many AFMA-managed fisheries, and the costs associated with collecting and analysing this data are recovered by AFMA from the fishing industry. It is envisaged that e-monitoring will provide an efficient and cost-effective option for collecting certain types of data.
What does e-monitoring do, how does it work and what are the components?
The e-monitoring system uses sensors and GPS to detect when and where fishing occurs, and records this information to a computer system using digital video cameras installed on boats.
The e-monitoring systems currently being used in AFMA-managed fisheries are manufactured by Archipelago Marine Research Ltd. The systems consist of a number of closed circuit television (CCTV) video cameras to record footage of fishing activities, a hydraulic pressure sensor and drum rotation sensor to detect when fishing begins and ends, a GPS receiver to collect data relating to time, boat position, speed, heading and positional errors, a user interface for programming data logging and onboard monitoring, a control box and a computer with specialised software for the storage of data (see diagram below).
During a fishing trip, the control box monitors the activity of the sensors on a regular basis. The system can be set so that the video cameras begin recording to the hard drive when the hydraulic sensors and/or the winch sensor detect that fishing activity such as gear setting or hauling has started and to stop recording when the activity stops.
Information on GPS location, speed, heading and sensor activity is transmitted hourly from the boat, allowing AFMA to check that the system is working as intended. The current systems operating in AFMA-managed fisheries require hard drives to be sent to AFMA for analysis.
What e-monitoring activities is AFMA involved in?
AFMA e- monitoring trials
AFMA has conducted trials of the technology in a number of Commonwealth fisheries, including the GHAT, ETBF and NPF.
A trial of e-monitoring technology, funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC), has been running in the GHAT fishery since September 2010 and is nearing completion. This trial aimed to assess:
- the effectiveness of e-monitoring as a tool for quantifying interactions with TEP species
- the effectiveness of e-monitoring as a tool for collecting data currently collected by observers
- the costs and benefits of e-monitoring in the GHAT fishery.
The final report for the GHAT e-monitoring trial is due to be published in January 2012. The report will be able to be downloaded from the AFMA website and hard copies will be mailed to GHAT stakeholders.
The e-monitoring trial in the ETBF has been completed, with the final report expected to be published in December 2011. The final report for the e-monitoring trial in the NPF will also be reported in September 2011. Some interest has already been expressed in installing e-monitoring equipment on boats in the NPF.
Operational roll-out of e-monitoring in the GHAT fishery
In accordance with Temporary Orders requiring 100% observer coverage in some areas of the GHAT fishery, AFMA is in the process of rolling out e-monitoring as an operational tool in the fishery. This provides a more cost-effective method of collecting information on any protected species interactions in the fishery, in particular, interactions with Australian Sea Lions and dolphins. It will also enable the verification of logbook entries by fishers on interactions with TEP species.
AFMA is assisting with the supply and installation of e-monitoring equipment on 12 boats that operate in the Australian Sea Lion Management Zone of the GHAT fishery.
Additional vessels who wish to offset the cost of observer coverage by paying for an e-monitoring system should contact one of AFMA’s e-monitoring Liaison Officers on 1300 723 621 or firstname.lastname@example.org
How will AFMA manage the data and protect fishers’ privacy?
AFMA receives two types of data from e-monitoring systems. The first is a summary “health statement” that is transmitted via satellite from fishing boats on an hourly basis. The system health statement includes information from cameras, GPS, power supply and each of the sensors on the boat to allow AFMA to ensure they are working correctly during fishing trips.
A system health statement (or “Function Test”) is also performed 72 hours in advance of a boat departing on a fishing trip in the GHAT fishery. This requirement is related to the direction in the Temporary Order for 100% observer coverage in parts of the GHAT fishery. It allows observers to meet boats prior to fishing if there are problems with the system and an observer is required to be onboard. An information sheet on how to correctly complete a Function Test has been sent to all e-monitoring boat owners.
The second type of data is the detailed sensor and GPS data together with video footage of fishing. This data is stored on the boat’s control unit hard drive. Currently, hard drives need to be removed and sent to AFMA after a specified usage threshold has been exceeded and replaced with empty hard drives. AFMA will inform operators when a hard drive needs to be retrieved from their boat.
The threshold at which hard drives need to be returned to AFMA will depend on the data being collected. Hard drives containing data being used for the long-term validation of logbooks may need to be sent at less frequent intervals than hard drives containing data on TEP interactions or in situations assessed as being more critical, for example, where a trigger limit is being approached.
The data provided to AFMA is treated in much the same way as logbook data and is subject to the same policies and legislation protecting privacy and confidentiality.
AFMA will only disclose e-monitoring data where it is required by law and will take steps to ensure the commercial value of information is protected. As with all information it collects, AFMA must be able to use and disclose e-monitoring data, including video footage, where this is reasonably necessary in order to carry out its functions under the Fisheries Management Act 1991 and Fisheries Administration Act 1991. These functions include disclosing data that falls into specific categories to other government agencies, for example, data that relates to possible breaches of the law.
AFMA could also be required by other laws to disclose the data, such as the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cwth) (see below), or by order of a court, such as a subpoena.
AFMA cannot lawfully disclose information unless this is authorised or required by law.
Footage will be retained by AFMA for at least six months to enable any relevant information to be extracted. Some footage may be retained for longer periods if it is required for compliance purposes. AFMA has authority to destroy electronic monitoring digital video files (as distinct from sensor data) once 6 months has elapsed from the last action, providing the files:
- are not required for an investigation or as evidence in a matter, or
- are not subject to a request for access under the Archives Act 1983, the Freedom of Information Act 1982 or any other relevant Act.
What is the process for replacing used hard drives?
Video footage, sensor and GPS data from e-monitoring systems is stored on a boat’s control unit hard drive. These hard drives will need to be returned to AFMA at certain intervals and replaced with a ‘fresh’ hard drive.
AFMA will endeavour to time hard drive replacement so it can occur when boats are in port. The time between hard drive exchanges will depend on the reason the data is being collected. AFMA will notify operators when hard drives need to be returned.
To ensure the video footage remains confidential and to protect data quality for compliance purposes hard drives will either be picked up and signed for by an AFMA officer or sent to AFMA by registered post. The costs of hard drive exchange are to be paid by industry as per AFMA’s cost recovery policy.
AFMA will implement a chain-of-custody process to ensure that fishers’ data is protected. If operators are required to change a hard drive instead of an AFMA Officer, an instruction sheet showing how to change the hard drive and return it to AFMA will be provided.
What does e-monitoring mean for observer coverage?
An e-monitoring system can collect many types of data on fishing activity. However, it cannot collect all the data required to manage a fishery. For example, e-monitoring cannot provide data on fish ages in the same manner as otolith extraction (the removal of fish “ear bones” so that age rings can be counted in the laboratory). This data may be needed for stock assessments and for setting sustainable catch limits for fisheries.
There will still be a requirement for some level of coverage by AFMA observers in all fisheries. The level of observer coverage required will depend on the data requirements for those fisheries. AFMA expects that there will be a proportion of the current data collected by observers that can be collected by an e-monitoring system.
In consultation with the Resource Assessment Group (RAG) for each fishery, AFMA will set the percentage of observer coverage that is required and the proportion of coverage that can either be supplied by observers or an e-monitoring system. Fishing concession holders can then make decisions based on their own business processes and needs on whether using observers or e-monitoring systems is going to be the most cost-effective manner of supplying the data. For information about the relative costs of observers and e-monitoring technology, please see below.
What are the costs of e-monitoring?
Whether e-monitoring is a cost-effective alternative for fishing boats will depend on an individual boat’s fishing practices and the amount of current observer coverage that can be replaced by e-monitoring. Electronic monitoring technology is a supplementary tool to observer coverage that should help offset a portion of current observer costs and will not replace observer coverage entirely. While the Temporary Orders in the GHAT require an observer or electronic monitoring equipment to be carried in parts of the GHAT fishery, AFMA may direct an observer to be carried even if electronic monitoring equipment is installed and operated.
Some boats and businesses, particularly those that fish a large number of days or require extensive observer coverage, may find that an e-monitoring system is very cost-effective. Other boats and businesses may find that the initial cost of setting up an e-monitoring system makes it more cost-effective to simply pay for observer coverage when it is required.
While AFMA can provide information on the costs of setting up an e-monitoring system, the cost of e-monitoring data analysis, and the costs of using observers, we cannot make a decision about cost-effectiveness for individual boats. Decisions of that nature are a matter for individual boat or business owners.
Indicative costs of an e-monitoring system as at 30 September 2011 are given below. These costs may vary from boat to boat depending on installation conditions and the type of analysis required. Observer costs are reviewed periodically and may change.
- Daily rate of observer $1000
- Basic e-monitoring system $14,000
- Uninterruptable power system $2,600
- Installation $3,500
- Analysis (per hour) $60
- Disc handling (per disc) $300
- Audit reporting cost (per disc) $300
For further information please contact one of AFMA’s e-monitoring Liaison Officers on 1300 723 621 or email@example.com.
New management arrangements were introduced into the Gillnet, Hook and Trap (GHAT) sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery via a Temporary Order issued by AFMA’s Chief Executive Officer under subsection 43(2) of the Fisheries Management Act 1991 on 28 April 2008 (protection for Australian Sea Lions), and a Temporary Order issued on 22 September 2011 (protection for dolphins).
The Temporary Orders strengthened management arrangements and data collection in the fishery. They provide additional protections for TEP species, including sea lions, dolphins, sea birds and some shark species.
Changes include an increase in the area of the fishery closed to gillnetting to protect Australian Sea Lions and dolphins, more precautionary sea lion bycatch trigger limits, prohibiting the discharge of offal from boats when setting nets, 100% independent monitoring of gillnetting in areas defined in the Temporary Orders, and 10% monitoring coverage for shark hook fishing and for gillnet fishing elsewhere in the fishery.
- Information on management changes to the GHAT fishery (including the Temporary Order)
- Read the media release outlining the Temporary Order for the GHAT fishery
What new e-monitoring arrangements are being implemented in the GHAT fishery?
Electronic monitoring equipment was initially deployed in the GHAT fishery on a trial basis. This trial was being completed by AFMA through FRDC funding. Temporary Orders took effect in the GHAT fishery on 1 May 2011 (for Australian Sea Lions) and 23 September 2011 (for dolphins).
The Temporary Orders increase the required level of independent monitoring of fishing activities in the GHAT sector. This increase in monitoring includes 100% observer coverage or on-board e-monitoring equipment for gillnetting in parts of the fishery in South Australia.
To assist gillnet fishers in the GHAT fishery comply with the Temporary Order in a cost-effective fashion, AFMA is fitting out 12 boats in the fishery with e-monitoring equipment. Boats were chosen for installation of e-monitoring equipment based on a number of criteria, including whether the boat owners:
- displayed an interest in e-monitoring before the first Temporary Order was issued
- were equipped with gillnetting equipment and operate in the gillnet fishery
- demonstrated historical fishing activity in the Australian Sea Lion Management Zone
- demonstrate current fishing activity in the Australian Sea Lion Management Zone.
Equipment fitted to the 12 boats selected in the GHAT roll-out continues to remain the property of AFMA. Owners of the 12 boats will be required to complete a bailment acknowledgement form and return it to AFMA before fishing will be allowed to take place. This bailment form acknowledges that while the electronic monitoring equipment has been provided by AFMA and is returnable on demand, it is the concession holder’s responsibility to insure, care for and maintain the equipment while in their possession.
If any of the 12 boats change fishing practices or stop fishing in key parts of the fishery, there is the potential for the e-monitoring equipment to be transferred to other boats operating in critical areas of the fishery.
The ongoing costs of e-monitoring for these 12 boats will remain the responsibility of the concession holders and are to be paid by industry as per AFMA’s cost recovery policy.
AFMA is not proposing to fund additional e-monitoring units. However, operators who are interested in installing their own e-monitoring system to offset observer costs can get more information by contacting one of AFMA’s e-monitoring Liaison Officers on 1300 723 621 or firstname.lastname@example.org
What e-monitoring is happening in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery (ETBF)?
E-monitoring will be made available as a voluntary option for boats in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery (ETBF) from 1 July 2011 and will be compulsory equipment on boats working in the ETBF from 30 June 2013. AFMA will continue to work closely with concession holders in the ETBF to assist with the implementation of e-monitoring in the fishery.
AFMA implemented a trial of e-monitoring technology in the ETBF to evaluate the effectiveness of e-monitoring technology for a number of fishery monitoring issues and to conduct a cost – benefit analysis.
The final report for the ETBF e-monitoring trial is intended to be published in December 2011. The report will be able to be downloaded from the ETBF page on the AFMA website. Hard copies will be mailed to ETBF stakeholders.
For further information on the e-monitoring program please contact one of AFMA’s e-monitoring liaison officers on 1300 723 621 or email@example.com.
What is happening with e-monitoring in the Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF)?
The Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF) is scheduled to introduce output-based quota management during 2012. Electronic monitoring has been trialed in the NPF, and has potential as a tool to enable the collection of independent data on fishing events in a cost-effective fashion.
The one-boat trial of e-monitoring was conducted in the NPF to:
- evaluate e-monitoring technology as a tool for assessing discards and a number of other fishery monitoring issues
- develop a procedure for evaluating total discard weight
- develop an approach for using e-monitoring data to evaluate fisher logbooks
- conduct a cost–benefit analysis of monitoring options and programs in the NPF.
Data collection for the NPF trial was conducted in 2010 and a draft report presented to the Northern Prawn Fishery Management Advisory Committee (NORMAC) in 2011. To answer additional questions posed by NORMAC, the trial was extended to collect more data in the fishery during 2011.
Additional data from the NPF trial of e-monitoring technology is currently being analysed by AFMA. The final report of the NPF trial is expected to be published by December 2011. Copies of the published results will be able to be downloaded from the NPF information page on the AFMA website. Hard copies of the report will be sent to NPF stakeholders.
Further information on the e-monitoring program can be obtained via one of AFMA’s e-monitoring liaison officers on 1300 723 621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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