SOUTHERN BLUEFIN TUNA FISHERY

Major species:
Southern Bluefin Tuna

Estimated catch 2009-10:
4124 tonnes

Gross value of production 2009-10:
$38.1 million

DEVELOPMENTS IN 2010–11

  • In 2009 the AFMA Commission agreed on an 8030 tonne total allowable catch for the Southern Bluefin Tuna fishery for the next two years. There was a two-year season of which 2010–11 was the second year.
  • On 24 November 2010, the Commonwealth Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities announced his decision to list Southern Bluefin Tuna as ‘conservation dependent’ under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The listing as conservation dependent recognises the strong measures in place in Australia to manage Southern Bluefin Tuna, and also accounts for the progress being made at an international level to rebuild the global stock to ecologically sustainable levels. It does not add additional restrictions to fishing within Australian waters.
  • On 19 October 2010 the Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery was reaccredited as an approved Wildlife Trade Operation under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The accreditation is valid until
    24 July 2013.
  • At the 16th meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna in October 2009, it was agreed that Australia would begin a commercial trial of stereo video technology covering 10 percent of the catch in the 2011 season. The technology will be assessed for its ability to improve the accuracy of the quota decrementation process in the farm sector of the fishery. The trial was conducted in February/ March 2011. A report on the outcomes of the trial will be presented to the AFMA Commission in 2011–12.
  • On 28 April 2011, industry conducted
    a live release of Southern Bluefin Tuna. AFMA officers on board the release vessel reported that the release was conducted in accordance with the trial provisions of the Southern Bluefin Tuna Management Plan 1995. The trial release provisions outlined in the management plan have been extended until the end of the 2013 fishing season.

REPORT AGAINST MANAGEMENT PLAN

Southern Bluefin Tuna is the only species covered by the Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery Management Plan 1995 and globally the species is considered overfished. Recent outcomes from the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna include a reduced global total allowable catch to rebuild the stock.

In 2010 AFMA amended the plan to:

  • remove the prescribed procedures for undertaking a verified count, and
  • extend the restricted overcatch and live release provisions by three years.

The amendments are required to allow the flexibility to use new monitoring technologies such as stereo video and to allow the continuation of the AFMA-agreed trial to allow a single end of season release of live fish to reduce the risk of exceeding Australia’s national catch allocation.

Catches in 2009–10, the first half of the two-year season, were within the maximum 5265 tonnes that could be taken during the first 12 months.

Correction to the Estimated Catch figures provided in the 2009–10 Annual Report.

Due to a typographical error the catch for the 2008-09 season was reported as 506 tonnes. The actual catch was 5242 tonnes.

Strong measures are in place to continue rebuilding the global Southern Bluefin Tuna stock

Strong measures are in place to continue rebuilding the global Southern Bluefin Tuna stock