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 practice when dealing with bycatch. However, recently there have been some instances of bycatch being injured before being returned to the water.

Operators are reminded that AFMA monitors bycatch handling and will take enforcement action against any operator not acting in accordance with the bycatch handling requirements.

Fishers are responsible for handling all bycatch species appropriately in order to maximise the chance of their survival. A common sense approach should be taken.

Concession holders and skippers are encouraged to educate themselves and their crew on AFMA’s Six Bycatch Principles:

1. Safety of the boat and its crew are paramount

2. All reasonable steps should be taken

3. Minor gear recover is not ‘reasonably necessary’

4. Expediting removal from gear is not ‘reasonably necessary’

5. Harm, injury or death cause during capture is not mishandling

6. Compliance with approved bycatch management plans

AFMA has guides to help fishers with bycatch including: