Feature story

TESTING CO-MANAGEMENT IN THE NORTHERN PRAWN FISHERY

Since 2008, AFMA has been trialling co-management with NPF Industry Pty Ltd (NPFI), the representative organisation for licence holders and fishers in the Northern Prawn Fishery.

The trial has explored the potential costs and benefits of greater collaboration and sharing of roles and responsibilities, with the aim of improving management outcomes and increasing efficiencies for the fishery.

The trials have tested the capacity and commitment of NPFI and its members in having a more prominent role in managing the Northern Prawn Fishery.

Some of the responsibilities the NPFI have taken on as part of this challenge are:

  • recruiting, training and managing crew member observers to ensure a wider coverage of the fleet monitoring interactions with non-target species, particularly species of conservation importance
  • managing the quality, accuracy, timeliness and dissemination of the fishery data program
  • coordinating pre-season briefing of fishers to ensure operators are aware of all the rules regulating the fishery and that they are following best practice and undertaking essential reporting
  • advising AFMA on operational matters in the fishery, including the timing of fishing seasons, the setting of fishing gear limits, research priorities and budget setting.

In advising AFMA, NPFI has consulted with its members, AFMA’s management team, the NPF Management Advisory Committee and the NPF resource assessment group.

There have been challenges for both AFMA and industry in developing the trial co-management partnership for the Northern Prawn Fishery.

However, both AFMA and NPFI agree on; the value of building better working relationships, gaining efficiencies from sharing functions and the need for preconditions for a co-management partnership to succeed.

The Crew Member Observer Program (CMO) Training Workshop attendees.

The Crew Member Observer Program (CMO) Training Workshop attendees.

Left to Right: Mark Tonks, Chelsea Nash, Jesse Moore, Angela Hearn, Terri Lester, Shea Denham, Samantha Larwood, Jason Thompson, Ian Maher, Gary Fry, Tom May Photo Courtesy of Matt Barwick, NPF Industry Pty Ltd.