- 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
Research and monitoring
- Collaborative research and results
- Monitoring programs used to gather information on the fishery
- Observer program
Research needs of the fishery are reviewed annually by the ETMAC Research Review and Recommendation (RRR) Group. This process provides for further research into stock assessment, collection of fishery and biological data as well as providing an ecological and economic assessment of the fishery.
Since commercial fishing began in the area, operators have contributed significantly to research and monitoring through the provision of vessel time, cooperation with the observer program, direct financial contributions and expertise of crew. Operators have worked in collaboration with relevant research organisations such as CSIRO and BRS to undertake extensive tagging and scientific monitoring programs, which have contributed to the wider WCPFC stock assessment of the target species. Observers also undertake biological sampling of target and bycatch species. As part of its core functions, AFMA also uses the data collected to assess bycatch species and impact of the fishery on the broader marine environment and assessing effectiveness of management measures and commitments under the bycatch action plan.
This information is then presented to the ETMAC RRR and ETMAC, and provided as part of briefings for Australian delegations to WCPFC and FFA meetings. A substantial number of research papers for the ETBF have also been completed and provided to WCPFC and the FFA over the years.
AFMA calls annually for research applications to address research priorities and gaps in knowledge, as identified in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery Five Year Research Plan 2003-2008 (523kb). The RRR, ETMAC and the Commonwealth Fisheries Research Advisory Board (COMFRAB) assesses these applications for funding from the AFMA Research Fund, FRDC and the Fisheries Resources Research Fund (FRRF).
Some of the research projects, related to the fishery, that have received funding recently include:
- Size monitoring program – (Kevin Williams, WW Fisheries)
- Integrated assessment and development and evaluation of a management framework for the ETBF – (Robert Campbell, CSIRO)
- Determining effective effort in the ETBF – (Robert Campbell, CSIRO)
- Implementation of bycatch mitigation measures in Australia’s pelagic longline fisheries: quantifying effects on target and non-target catches – (Peter Ward, BRS)
- Determining ecological effects of longline fishing in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery – (Jock Young, CSIRO)
- Investigation of local movement and regional migration behaviour of broadbill swordfish targeted by the ETBF – (Chris Wilcox, CSIRO).
- Integrated analysis and assessment supporting implementation of the management and harvest strategy framework within the ETBF – (Robert Campbell, CSIRO)
- South West Pacific Stock Assessment 1952-2006 – (Dale Kolody CSIRO) Predicting the impact of hook decrementation
- Predicting the impact of hook decrementation on the distribution of fishing effort in the ETBF – (Chris Wilcox, CSIRO)
- Population biology and habitat preferences of Striped Marlin – (Peter Davie)
- Integrated evaluation of management strategies for multi-species long-line fisheries – (Campbell Davies, CSIRO)
Completed research projects in the ETBF post-2003 include:
- Development of an operating model for evaluation of harvest strategies for the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery – Dr Robert Campbell (Multiple years)
- Determining the nature and extent of swordfish movement and migration in the eastern and western AFZ – (John Gunn/Clive Stanley)
- Stock Assessment of striped marlin in the southwest Pacific ocean – (Don Bromhead)
- Eastern Tuna and Billfish Size Monitoring Program 03/04 – (Kevin Williams)
- A review of byproduct interactions and economics in Australia’s tuna and billfish fisheries – (James Findlay/Don Bromhead)
- Reduction of interactions by toothed whales with fishing gear. Development and assessment of predation mitigation devices around longlines – (Geoff McPherson
- Eastern Tuna and Billfish Size Monitoring Program 04/05 – (Kevin Williams)
- Eastern Tuna and Billfish Size Monitoring Program 05/06 – (Kevin Williams)
- Eastern Tuna and Billfish Size Monitoring Program 06/07 – (Kevin Williams)
- Eastern Tuna and Billfish Size Monitoring Program 07/08 – (Kevin Williams)
- Archival hard parts collection, a basis for routine ageing of tuna and billfish – Clive Stanley (multiple years)
- New deep setting technique for bycatch mitigation – (Steve Beverley)
- Integrated Analysis and Assessment of the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery – (Robert Campbell)
- Assessment of blue shark population status in the western South Pacific – (Grant West et al)
- Migration and habitat preferences of bigeye tuna, Thunnus obesus, on the east coast of Australia – John Gunn
- A review of striped marlin biology and fisheries relevant to Australia – James Findlay
- Testing of acoustic tracking system for marine mammals around longline and gillnet fishing gear, and preliminary trials of predation mitigation devices for longline fisheries – Geoff McPherson
The results of these research reports are available on AFMA’s website.
Fishery information in the ETBF is collected mainly through the longline fishing logbook (AL06 Australian Pelagic Longline Daily Fishing Log), Catch Disposal Records (CDRs), observer data and a size monitoring program for yellowfin, bigeye and swordfish.
The first monitoring of fishing activity in the ETBF commenced in the 1960s when a surface fishery logbook was introduced. The Australian Government then released a logbook for domestic longliners in 1986 but it wasn’t until AFMA enforced its return in 1995 that quality data was available. The logbook provides for the recording of information on the location, time, gear and method of fishing as well as the resultant catch for each fishing operation (For more information on logbooks visit AFMA’s website). In 2006, AFMA ensured further accuracy of catch data through the introduction of the Commonwealth Pelagic Fisheries CDR which is an accurate record of all the catch landed, where an independent licensed fish receiver verifies the landed weight of each species.
While logbook information has proved reasonably reliable for target species, catch information about byproduct, bycatch and fishing practices has been less reliable. To address these issues AFMA has implemented an observer program.
For information on the observer program refer to Section 4.3: Observer program.
The AFMA observer program places observers on domestic and if required, foreign vessels fishing within the Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ) and some adjacent areas under international arrangements. The requirements and priorities for the Observer Program for each fishery are determined by relevant stakeholders and implemented by the AFMA Observer Program.
In 2003 the AFMA Board agreed to a 5 year observer program for the ETBF with an aim of 5.1% coverage across the ETBF per year. The 5-year program is designed to get a good estimate of the level of incidental catches of threatened, endangered and protected (TEP) species such as turtles and seabirds as well as collecting information about the catch of target and byproduct species. The data collected is also used to validate the accuracy of logbook data across the fishery and will be used as a source of information in setting the total allowable effort (TAE) and sub-area factors under the Plan. Observers provide reliable data on catch composition, fate of target and non-target species, fishing effort and fishing practices. One of their main tasks in the ETBF is to report on the use and effectiveness of mitigation measures under the TAP and to monitor interactions with TEP species, particular seabirds and turtles and record them on detailed wildlife interaction sheets.
Since 2003, observers have been deployed in the ETBF to monitor 5.1% of all the effort in the fishery. With the implementation of the TAP in the ETBF this level of coverage was required in each 5 degree latitudinal band in the fishery. However in December 2006, in response to the Ministerial Direction, AFMA decided to increase observer coverage to 8.5% of all fishing effort. In addition to this AFMA has implemented an increased level of observer coverage (of up to 100%) for vessels operating in the identified SBT zones of the fishery.
- 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