EASTERN TUNA AND BILLFISH FISHERY

Major species:
Albacore Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna, Bigeye Tuna, Broadbill Swordfish and Striped Marlin

Estimated catch 2009-10:
5,707 tonnes

Gross value of production:
$30.14 million

Longliner crew about to haul up

Longliner crew about to haul up

DEVELOPMENTS IN 2010–11

  • the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Management Plan 2005 (old Plan), which managed the fishery by limiting the number of hooks allowed to be deployed, was revoked in January 2011.
  • AFMA introduced individual transferable quotas in the fishery which required determining a new Management Plan. This made Albacore Tuna, Bigeye Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna, Broadbill Swordfish and Striped Marlin subject to Total Allowable Commercial Catch limits.
  • the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery Management Plan 2010 (new Plan) was Determined by the AFMA Commission on 20 December 2010. It was accepted by Parliamentary Secretary Kelly on 10 January 2011.
  • boat and Quota Statutory Fishing Rights under the new Plan were granted to the holders of Statutory Fishing Rights under the old Plan during February 2011.
  • the new Plan came into full effect on 1 March 2011 when the 2011–12 fishing season began.
  • the total allowable commercial Catch limits were set at 2,500 tonnes for Albacore Tuna, 1,056 tonnes for Bigeye Tuna, 2,200 tonnes for Yellowfin Tuna, 1,550 tonnes for Broadbill Swordfish and 390 tonnes for Striped Marlin.

REPORT AGAINST MANAGEMENT PLAN

The 16-month fishing season under the old plan was completed on 28 February 2011. In accordance with the decision rules of the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery Harvest Strategy, the total allowable effort limit for this season was set at 12 million hooks. Effort in the fishery during the season did not exceed the total limit, nor did any individual exceed their hook limits.

The Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery Management Plan 2010 was fully implemented from 1 March 2011 when the 2011–12 fishing season began. This requires all vessels fishing for tuna and billfish species in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery to have either a longline or minorline boat Statutory Fishing Right to use each method respectively and to have enough quota Statutory Fishing Rights to cover their catch of each of the five quota species.

During May to November each year, AFMA implements core and buffer zones in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery to ensure that any Southern Bluefin Tuna caught is accounted within the Southern Bluefin Tuna total allowable catch. To enter the core and buffer zones, operators must hold a minimum amount of Southern Bluefin Tuna quota and have varying levels of observer coverage depending on the amount of quota they hold. The zones are updated fortnightly using a model from CSIRO, sea surface temperatures and industry information.

Individual transferable quotas were introduced to the Eastern Tuna and Billfish fishery in March 2011

Individual transferable quotas were introduced to the Eastern Tuna and Billfish fishery in March 2011