EASTERN TUNA AND BILLFISH FISHERY

Major species:
• Albacore Tuna
• Yellowfin Tuna
• Bigeye Tuna
• Broadbill Swordfish
• Striped Marlin

Estimated catch 2010-11:
5169 tonnes

Gross value of production 2010-11:
$30.9 million

DEVELOPMENTS IN 2011–12

The Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery commenced its second fishing season under quota management.

The harvest strategy was used for recommending the total allowable commercial catch of Broadbill Swordfish and Striped Marlin.

The total allowable commercial catch limits for the 2012-13 fishing season were set at;

  • 2500 tonnes for Albacore Tuna
  • 1056 tonnes for Bigeye Tuna
  • 2200 tonnes for Yellowfin Tuna
  • 1396 tonnes for Broadbill Swordfish
  • 370 tonnes for Striped Marlin

The Australian Tuna and Billfish Longline Fishery Bycatch and Discard Workplan 2011-13 was agreed and has been implemented.

Seabird bycatch mitigation requirements changed to allow 40g weights at hook to be used with non-live bait. This will increase effectiveness and crew safety.

The ecological risk management strategy was updated to reflect the move to individual transferable quota management.

 

REPORT AGAINST MANAGEMENT PLAN

The fishery continued to be managed in accordance with the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery Management Plan 2010 and conservation and management measures mandated by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.

All operations conducted in the fishery were in compliance with the performance criteria outlined in the management plan.

During May to November each year, AFMA implements core and buffer zones in the fishery to ensure that any Southern Bluefin Tuna caught was covered by quota. To enter the core and buffer zones, operators must hold a certain amount of Southern Bluefin Tuna quota and meet a certain level of observer coverage.

The zones were updated fortnightly using a model from CSIRO, sea surface temperatures and industry information.