SOUTHERN BLUEFIN TUNA FISHERY

Major species:
Southern Bluefin Tuna

Estimated catch 2010-11:
3900 tonnes

Gross value of production 2010-11:
$30.6 million

DEVELOPMENTS IN 2011–12

At its eighteenth annual meeting, in October 2011, the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna agreed that a management procedure would be used. The management procedure would guide the setting of the Southern Bluefin Tuna global total allowable catch to ensure that the spawning stock biomass achieves the interim rebuilding target of 20 per cent of the original spawning stock biomass.

In adopting the management procedure, the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna emphasised the need to take a precautionary approach to increase the likelihood of the spawning stock rebuilding in the short term and to provide industry with more stability in the total allowable catch (that is to reduce the probability of future decreases). Under the adopted management procedure, the total allowable catch will be set in three year periods.

In 2011 Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna established a procedure for limited carry-forward (undercatch) of members’ unfished annual total allowable catch from one year to the next. The procedure would apply within, but not between, the three year quota blocks agreed under the management procedure.

A report on the commercial trial of stereo video technology was presented to Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna in October 2011.

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. The Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna Extended Scientific Committee noted in 2011 that while the current spawning biomass remains very low (about 5 per cent of historic levels), the outlook for the stock is positive with a more optimistic view of the future recovery rate.

Following the final transfer of the 2011 season, one company exceeded its quota by approximately 19 tonnes. In accordance with the requirements of the Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery Management Plan 1995 the corresponding amount was deducted from the company’s 2012 quota holdings.

In 2012 AFMA commenced the process of amending the Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery Management Plan 1995 to allow for the inclusion of undercatch arrangements as agreed by Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna. Other proposed changes to the management plan include provision for changes to the monitoring arrangements in the fishery, changes to the way the season date is set and the streamlining of some aspects of the total allowable catch setting process.