List of approved VMS units in Commonwealth fisheries has changed

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has recently amended the list of approved VMS units for use on Commonwealth nominated fishing vessels. Changes have been made to the approved list of VMS units to ensure they remain current and in line with the technology in the market. One new unit has been added, and four older types of VMS units …

Time to make sure your contact details are up-to-date

It’s essential that the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) can make contact with concession holders, skippers and masters of Commonwealth fishing vessels quickly and easily. AFMA needs to contact relevant people and vessels at sea for fisheries management notifications and fisheries compliance issues that may arise. AFMAs National Compliance team is asking operators to ensure they maintain contact details for …

Public comment: authorising transhipping in Commonwealth Fisheries

Public comment is now open on a draft policy and guidelines regarding the authorisation of transhipping activities in Commonwealth fisheries. Submissions can be made via a webform on the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) website and will close at 5pm AEST 20 July 2018. View the: Transhipping policy: Authorisation of transhipping activities in Commonwealth fisheries Transhipping guidelines: Guidelines for authorising transhipping …

Ghost net artworks a positive outcome on World Oceans Day

On World Oceans Day the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is celebrating its role in helping keep our oceans clean and working with Indigenous artists to turn marine debris into art. AFMA’s acting CEO, Dr Nick Rayns said our oceans produce over half of the world’s oxygen, 97 per cent of fresh water and feed more than three billion people. …

Suspect shipment of live mud crabs seized

A shipment of live mud crabs suspected of being taken illegally was seized by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) in the Torres Strait at Horn Island Airport on 30 May 2018. Originating from an outer island in the Torres Strait and destined for Cairns, AFMA officers found 141 live mud crabs in the shipment. It is alleged that the …

Response to the research paper by Edgar et al. regarding Australian fishery stocks

Research paper by Graham Edgar, Trevor Ward and Rick Stuart-Smith: Rapid declines across Australian fishery stocks indicate global sustainability targets will not be achieved without an expanded network of ‘no‐fishing’ reserves. The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) rejects the claim that there have been rapid declines across Australian fish stocks with Commonwealth-managed fisheries that have been rigorously assessed as not …

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AFMA on Norfolk Island to talk fisheries

My colleague Tod Spencer and I visited Norfolk Island at the start of May to talk with the community about the management of the Norfolk Island Inshore fishery, also known as the ‘MoU Box’. Our main reason for visiting was to discuss the review of the Fishery Management Policy for the Inshore fishery that was developed in 2009. In particular …

Meet the Observers – Eddie

Eddie Freeman has worked as an Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) Observer since 2011, and has over 40 years’ experience in the Australian fishing industry. Eddie is always excited at the prospect of another trip, with his next trip marking number 200 over his eight years as an AFMA Observer. Despite his long career in observing, Eddie isn’t showing any …

61st AFMA Commission meeting – Chairman’s summary

The Commission met for its 61st meeting in Canberra on 9-10 May 2018. The meeting was preceded by AFMA’s Annual Public Meeting on 9 May. Key decisions taken by the Commission at its meeting included: Extension of the Macquarie Island Toothfish Fishery (MITF) longline season Commissioners agreed to extend the MITF longline season so that it runs from 15 April …

Reminder for fishers to know their responsibilities when handling bycatch

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) National Compliance and Enforcement Team is reminding operators to review and understand their obligations for bycatch handling. Fishers can minimise their impact on the marine environment by using correct handling techniques and returning live bycatch to the water quickly and safely. Regular monitoring has shown a number of good examples of operators using best …

Illegal catch seized near Saibai Island

Media release from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Australian Border Force Papua New Guinean (PNG) nationals have been returned to PNG after they were found in the Torres Strait with a catch of mud crabs suspected to have been taken illegally from Australian waters near Saibai Island. Maritime Border Command (MBC), a multi-agency taskforce within the Australian Border …

Latest science supports bigger fish catches

Based on the latest science for Jack Mackerel (West), the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has increased the annual total allowable catch (TAC) for commercial fishers from 920 tonnes to 4190 tonnes. AFMA’s CEO, Dr James Findlay, said a new season has kicked off in the Small Pelagic Fishery (SPF) with little change to the TACs for the remaining target …

Illegal tropical rock lobster haul seized in Torres Strait

Media release from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and Australian Border Force Three Papua New Guinean (PNG) nationals have had their fishing boat confiscated and have been returned to PNG after they were found with a haul of tropical rock lobster in the Torres Strait, suspected of being taken illegally in Australian waters. Maritime Border Command (MBC), a joint agency …

Members sought for the Commonwealth Fisheries Marine Mammal Working Group

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is seeking applications for member positions on the Commonwealth Fisheries Marine Mammal Working Group. The Commonwealth Fisheries Marine Mammal Working Group provides advice to AFMA on marine mammal mitigation arrangements for Commonwealth managed fisheries. In particular, members are sought to support the: identification of marine mammal bycatch issues in Commonwealth Fisheries development and review …

Encouraging Tuna Champions

Media release from the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources A new program was today launched to further develop responsible recreational fishing of Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT). Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Ruston, launched the Tuna Champions Program at Hobart’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. “This initiative will work to improve stewardship, fish handling and …

Spotlight on seabird safety for Macquarie Island Toothfish Fishery season

The 2018 season for Australia’s Macquarie Island Toothfish Fishery (MITF) commenced in mid-April, with fishers placing a spotlight on seabird safety in an effort to continue a 10-year success story of zero seabird interactions. Macquarie Island is a unique place in Australia, and while a part of Tasmania it is located almost half way between Antarctica and Hobart. CEO of …

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Two foreign fishing vessels apprehended east of Ashmore Island

Media release from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Australian Border Force Maritime Border Command (MBC), a multi-agency taskforce within the Australian Border Force (ABF), and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), have apprehended two Indonesian fishing vessels in the Timor Sea, approximately 100 nautical miles east of the Ashmore Islands. On 19 April 2018, an ABF Dash-8 aircraft …

Response to the Australian Marine Conservation Society Sustainable Seafood Guide

Dear Mr Kindleysides The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) understands that the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has updated its sustainable seafood guide for Australian commercial fisheries. It is disappointing that little of the feedback and input provided by AFMA for the revised guide in September 2017 appears to have been taken into account. For example, significant developments in understanding …

Changes to the Inmarsat C Satellite Network – Update

AFMA’s airtime provider Inmarsat is now expected to commence a transition of satellite C services from their I-3 constellation to the I-4 satellite constellation in the Australian region at the end of June 2018 (https://marlink.com/inmarsatc-i4-migration/). When the transition commences there may be periodic outages to Inmarsat C VMS units to enable the work to be undertaken, in preparation for the …

Sustainable bycatch handling behaviour in the spotlight in education video

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is showcasing Australia’s sustainable Commonwealth fisheries, by featuring operators using best practice bycatch handling techniques, in its new bycatch handling education video. AFMA’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr James Findlay, said that correct bycatch handling has a significant impact on the ongoing survival of marine life, and it helps to ensure the sustainability of our …

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Suspect shipment of live mud crabs seized

A shipment of live mud crabs suspected of being taken illegally was seized by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) in the Torres Strait at Horn Island Airport on 30 May 2018. Originating from an outer island in the Torres Strait and destined for Cairns, AFMA officers found 141 live mud crabs in the shipment. It is alleged that the …

Response to the research paper by Edgar et al. regarding Australian fishery stocks

Research paper by Graham Edgar, Trevor Ward and Rick Stuart-Smith: Rapid declines across Australian fishery stocks indicate global sustainability targets will not be achieved without an expanded network of ‘no‐fishing’ reserves. The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) rejects the claim that there have been rapid declines across Australian fish stocks with Commonwealth-managed fisheries that have been rigorously assessed as not …

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AFMA on Norfolk Island to talk fisheries

My colleague Tod Spencer and I visited Norfolk Island at the start of May to talk with the community about the management of the Norfolk Island Inshore fishery, also known as the ‘MoU Box’. Our main reason for visiting was to discuss the review of the Fishery Management Policy for the Inshore fishery that was developed in 2009. In particular …

Meet the Observers – Eddie

Eddie Freeman has worked as an Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) Observer since 2011, and has over 40 years’ experience in the Australian fishing industry. Eddie is always excited at the prospect of another trip, with his next trip marking number 200 over his eight years as an AFMA Observer. Despite his long career in observing, Eddie isn’t showing any …

Illegal catch seized near Saibai Island

Media release from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Australian Border Force Papua New Guinean (PNG) nationals have been returned to PNG after they were found in the Torres Strait with a catch of mud crabs suspected to have been taken illegally from Australian waters near Saibai Island. Maritime Border Command (MBC), a multi-agency taskforce within the Australian Border …

Latest science supports bigger fish catches

Based on the latest science for Jack Mackerel (West), the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has increased the annual total allowable catch (TAC) for commercial fishers from 920 tonnes to 4190 tonnes. AFMA’s CEO, Dr James Findlay, said a new season has kicked off in the Small Pelagic Fishery (SPF) with little change to the TACs for the remaining target …

Illegal tropical rock lobster haul seized in Torres Strait

Media release from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and Australian Border Force Three Papua New Guinean (PNG) nationals have had their fishing boat confiscated and have been returned to PNG after they were found with a haul of tropical rock lobster in the Torres Strait, suspected of being taken illegally in Australian waters. Maritime Border Command (MBC), a joint agency …

Members sought for the Commonwealth Fisheries Marine Mammal Working Group

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is seeking applications for member positions on the Commonwealth Fisheries Marine Mammal Working Group. The Commonwealth Fisheries Marine Mammal Working Group provides advice to AFMA on marine mammal mitigation arrangements for Commonwealth managed fisheries. In particular, members are sought to support the: identification of marine mammal bycatch issues in Commonwealth Fisheries development and review …

Encouraging Tuna Champions

Media release from the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources A new program was today launched to further develop responsible recreational fishing of Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT). Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Ruston, launched the Tuna Champions Program at Hobart’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. “This initiative will work to improve stewardship, fish handling and …

Spotlight on seabird safety for Macquarie Island Toothfish Fishery season

The 2018 season for Australia’s Macquarie Island Toothfish Fishery (MITF) commenced in mid-April, with fishers placing a spotlight on seabird safety in an effort to continue a 10-year success story of zero seabird interactions. Macquarie Island is a unique place in Australia, and while a part of Tasmania it is located almost half way between Antarctica and Hobart. CEO of …

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Two foreign fishing vessels apprehended east of Ashmore Island

Media release from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Australian Border Force Maritime Border Command (MBC), a multi-agency taskforce within the Australian Border Force (ABF), and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), have apprehended two Indonesian fishing vessels in the Timor Sea, approximately 100 nautical miles east of the Ashmore Islands. On 19 April 2018, an ABF Dash-8 aircraft …

Changes to the Inmarsat C Satellite Network – Update

AFMA’s airtime provider Inmarsat is now expected to commence a transition of satellite C services from their I-3 constellation to the I-4 satellite constellation in the Australian region at the end of June 2018 (https://marlink.com/inmarsatc-i4-migration/). When the transition commences there may be periodic outages to Inmarsat C VMS units to enable the work to be undertaken, in preparation for the …

Sustainable bycatch handling behaviour in the spotlight in education video

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is showcasing Australia’s sustainable Commonwealth fisheries, by featuring operators using best practice bycatch handling techniques, in its new bycatch handling education video. AFMA’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr James Findlay, said that correct bycatch handling has a significant impact on the ongoing survival of marine life, and it helps to ensure the sustainability of our …

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Sunfish surprise Murdoch University researchers

Media release from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and Murdoch University Murdoch University researchers have partnered with the Commonwealth longline fishing industry and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) to find out more about sunfishes around Australia. Murdoch University PhD student Marianne Nyegaard said that she is fascinated by sunfish. “They capture our imaginations with their bizarre oversized head-like bodies …

Public consultation open for fisheries management regulations

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is seeking comment as part of its review of three legislative instruments, relating to the management of Commonwealth fisheries under the Fisheries Management Act 1991, the Fisheries Administration Act 1991 as well as the Fisheries Management (Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery) Regulations 1995. The CEO of AFMA, Dr James Findlay, said these regulations help to …

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Early signs for a good banana prawn season

With a break in cyclone activity and heavy rains in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia’s Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF) is hoping for a good banana prawn season this year. In late March, 52 prawn trawl vessels from the Commonwealth-managed NPF entered the Gulf of Carpentaria and northern Australian waters to kick start the season on 1 April. The CEO of …

AFMA annual public meeting

AFMA’s annual public meeting will be held on Wednesday 9 May 2018 in Canberra. This meeting gives stakeholders the opportunity to meet with AFMA Commissioners. All stakeholders are invited to attend.   Where: Australian Fisheries Management Authority, 6th Floor, 73 Northbourne Avenue, Civic, Canberra. Time: The meeting will commence at 9.30am and finish with morning tea by 10:30am. Date: Wednesday 9 …

Good Friday breaming with sustainable top quality seafood

Media release from the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Australia’s world-leading sustainable fisheries management ensures people across the nation will have an abundance of healthy, top-quality seafood produce to choose from in the lead up to the Easter long weekend. Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston said Australia was recognised around the world for its …

Reminder for fishers to report all discards

In commercial fishing some parts of a catch may be discarded because they are undersize, the fisher may not hold enough quota, or incidental species are caught during fishing operations. The Australian Fisheries Management Authority’s (AFMA) Bycatch and Discard Program develops policy and management strategies to manage the impact of commercial fishing on non-target and protected species. To ensure sustainability …

Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) notification

Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA) advises that the Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) virus was detected in feral Pacific Oyster populations in the Port River in Adelaide on 28 February 2018. The virus is yet to be found in the commercial oyster farming areas of South Australia. The detection in the Port River does, however, represent a substantially …

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Sunfish surprise Murdoch University researchers

Media release from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and Murdoch University Murdoch University researchers have partnered with the Commonwealth longline fishing industry and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) to find out more about sunfishes around Australia. Murdoch University PhD student Marianne Nyegaard said that she is fascinated by sunfish. “They capture our imaginations with their bizarre oversized head-like bodies …

Public consultation open for fisheries management regulations

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is seeking comment as part of its review of three legislative instruments, relating to the management of Commonwealth fisheries under the Fisheries Management Act 1991, the Fisheries Administration Act 1991 as well as the Fisheries Management (Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery) Regulations 1995. The CEO of AFMA, Dr James Findlay, said these regulations help to …

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Early signs for a good banana prawn season

With a break in cyclone activity and heavy rains in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia’s Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF) is hoping for a good banana prawn season this year. In late March, 52 prawn trawl vessels from the Commonwealth-managed NPF entered the Gulf of Carpentaria and northern Australian waters to kick start the season on 1 April. The CEO of …

Good Friday breaming with sustainable top quality seafood

Media release from the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Australia’s world-leading sustainable fisheries management ensures people across the nation will have an abundance of healthy, top-quality seafood produce to choose from in the lead up to the Easter long weekend. Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston said Australia was recognised around the world for its …

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Increased enforcement leads to apprehensions in the Torres Strait

Media release from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and Australian Border Force Maritime Border Command (MBC), a multi-agency taskforce within the Australian Border Force (ABF), working closely with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has apprehended two Papua New Guinean (PNG) banana boats in the Torres Strait for suspected illegal fishing. The ABF, working under the operational command of MBC, …

Week-long celebration of sustainably sourced seafood

Media release from Senator Anne Ruston Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Taking place on 12 to 18 March, Australia’s first Sustainable Seafood Week is a new, week-long opportunity to celebrate Australia’s seafood industries and the well-managed, sustainable fisheries that supply our favourite fish and crustaceans. ​Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, said Australia was a world …

AFMA expands operations in Lakes Entrance

Joint media release from Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud and Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester​​ The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) will expand its operations in Lakes Entrance, Victoria, from one to eight staff, to better meet its business and operational needs in Australia’s largest commercial fishing port. Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Ruston, said …

Have your say on transitioning the New South Wales Southern Fish Trawl Fishery to remove red tape

Note: The consultation period has been extended and will close on Monday 9 April, 2018. Joint media release from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the NSW Department of Primary Industries Fishers are being encouraged to have their say on new plans to transition the New South Wales (NSW) Southern Fish Trawl Fishery (SFTF) into the Commonwealth trawl sector of …

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Joint agency patrol targets east coast maritime threats

Media release from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Australian Border Force Officers from the Australian Border Force (ABF), Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) have carried out a joint patrol of Australia’s east coast, using their combined expertise to detect and deter civil maritime security threats. Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Cape Fourcroy was …

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Foreign fishing vessel apprehended off WA coast with 1110kgs of tuna

Joint media release from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Australian Border Force An Indonesian fishing vessel has been apprehended approximately 390 nautical miles off the Western Australian coast by Maritime Border Command (MBC), together with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA). The vessel was approximately five nautical miles inside the Australian Fishing Zone. MBC, a multi-agency task force …

Australia and Vietnam stamping out illegal fishing

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources media release The Australian Fisheries Management Authority has completed a joint public information campaign with the Vietnamese Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development and the Vietnamese Directorate of Fisheries in Vietnam, as part of efforts to combat illegal foreign fishing in our oceans. Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, …

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Australia’s Northern Prawn Fishery continues achieving global sustainability benchmark

The Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF) has been re-certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) for a further five years, recognising the NPF as having global best-practice ecologically sustainable fisheries management. The MSC certification is recognised internationally as the global gold standard fisheries certification system, and requires three core criteria to meet the MSC standard: the status of the fish stock, …

Indonesian illegal fisherman fined $12,000

The master of an Indonesian illegal fishing vessel today pleaded guilty and was convicted in the Darwin Magistrates Court after being caught illegally fishing in Australian waters in October 2017. The master, a previous offender, was convicted for two offences under the Fisheries Management Act 1991, and was fined $12,000, and warned that if he was caught again in Australian …

Torres Strait fisher fined for illegal fishing near Dungeness Reef

Media release from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Australian Border Force A Torres Strait commercial fishing operator has been found guilty and fined $2500 for receiving tropical rock lobster from other operators near Dungeness Reef, in February 2017 without a licence. The fisher was charged with offences under the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984 following a joint operation …

Another good year for Australia’s fisheries and aquaculture industry

Media release from the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston The value of Australian fisheries and aquaculture sector increased by nine per cent to $3 billion in 2015-16, injecting an additional $270 million into rural and regional economies. Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston today welcomed the ABARES Australian fisheries and aquaculture statistics 2016 report. …

Large fines for Commonwealth concession holder’s breached permits

Two men have been found guilty of six offences under the Fisheries Management Act 1991, in relation to fishing for orange roughy off the east coast of Tasmania in June 2015. Under Commonwealth management, the orange roughy fishery requires commercial fishers to have a minimum quota of 30 tonnes and to have an Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) Observer on …

Environmentalists’ misleading claims of foreign vessels entering Australian waters

This week Australians were deceived by some environmentalists who conjured a conspiracy theory that foreign fishing vessels were about to arrive en masse to Australia’s distant offshore waters. As the CEO of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) I outright reject these ridiculous claims and call them for what they are, unsubstantiated scaremongering. In the article, Foreign boats set to fish …

Statement regarding a Fairfax article published on 11 December 2017

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) acknowledges the publication of the article by the Fairfax media, Foreign boats set to fish in Australian waters, expert claims, by Nicole Hasham. AFMA outright rejects any implication that deemed vessels are able to sit outside the Fisheries Management Act 1991. We agree that it is, as the article states, “unsubstantiated scaremongering.” The facts …

Illegal foreign fishing vessels destroyed in Darwin

Eight Indonesian illegal fishers pleaded guilty in a Darwin Magistrates Court last week for offences of illegal fishing in the Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ) last month. Their three vessels were destroyed by fire at a Darwin destruction facility. The fishers, and the three vessels, were apprehended in waters north-west of Darwin on 9 November 2017 in a joint operation by …

Support your local seafood industry this Christmas

Media release from the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston Christmas is around the corner and what better way to celebrate with your family than with Aussie seafood? Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Anne Ruston, said having a good supply of local, fresh seafood depended on having healthy fisheries and a viable Commonwealth commercial fishing …

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