CORAL SEA FISHERY

Major species:

Line and Trap Sector – tropical finfish and sharks

Trawl and Trap Sector – tropical finfish and crustaceans;

Sea Cucumber Sector – White Teatfish, Surf Redfish, Prickly Redfish, Black Teatfish, Sandfish and other sea cucumber species.

Lobster and Trochus Sector – tropical rock lobsters belonging to the genus Panulirus except P. cygnus. No trochus have been caught over the past five years.

Aquarium sector – extremely diverse range of species including Chondrichthys (cartilaginous fishes) and Osteichthyes (bony fishes), as well as invertebrates and live rock (limestone encrusted with organisms). The collection of live coral is prohibited in this fishery.

Estimated catch 2009–10:
4 tonnes excluding the Aquarium Sector.

Gross value of production:
Not available

DEVELOPMENTS IN 2010–11

Further progress has been made during 2010–11 to refine existing management arrangements and develop new management arrangements based on the results of risk assessments and the review of the harvest strategy. These developments include:

  • reaccreditation of the fishery as an approved Wildlife Trade Operation by the Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities on 19 November 2010 for a further three year period;
  • implementation of a bycatch and discard workplan for the fishery to mitigate the risks to non-target species including starting development of a code of practice for the handling and release of sharks;
  • finalising and implementing appropriate management arrangements to restrict the take of Humphead Maori Wrasse to precautionary catch limits due to the species’ listing under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species;
  • convening a panel of experts in June 2011 to determine the risks to target, bycatch and discard species in the Coral Sea Fishery as part of the harvest strategy review;
  • conducting an annual meeting of stakeholders in June 2011 to consider management arrangements for 2011–12 and risk analysis of fishing activities.

REPORT AGAINST MANAGEMENT PLANS

AFMA has made a determination under the Fisheries Management Act 1991 that a management plan for the Coral Sea Fishery is not warranted at this time. The principal legal framework for the management of the fishery is specified in the Act and the Fisheries Management Regulations 1992.

A limited number of fishing permits are granted each year under the Act and these permits are subject to conditions set out in section 32(5), as well as conditions specified on the permits. Each permit includes conditions specific to the sector to which it relates and may also contain conditions specific to the particular permit. Conditions may include limits on the number of persons able to fish under the permit at any time, gear restrictions, species size limits, trigger limits and total allowable catch limits, as well as spatial controls.

The Coral Sea fishery uses a range of fishing methods to target a diverse mix of species

The Coral Sea fishery uses a range of fishing methods to target a diverse mix of species