WESTERN TUNA AND BILLFISH FISHERY

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

Estimated catch 2010-11:
352 tonnes

Gross value of production 2010-11:
$3.3 million

DEVELOPMENTS IN 2011–12

The Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery has continued to operate at low levels of effort (compared to the early 2000s) due to economic conditions.

The fishery commenced its second fishing season under quota management for Bigeye Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna, Broadbill Swordfish and Striped Marlin.

The total allowable commercial catch limits for the 2012-13 fishing season were set at 2000 tonnes for Bigeye Tuna, 5000 tonnes for Yellowfin Tuna, 3000 tonnes for Broadbill Swordfish and 125 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.

Australia hosted the sixteenth session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission in Perth during April 2012. The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission is an intergovernmental organisation that manages tuna and tuna-like species in the Indian Ocean and adjacent seas.

The ecological risk management strategy was updated to reflect the move to individual transferable quota management.
AFMA closed an area to protect Bigeye Tuna spawning stocks.

 

REPORT AGAINST MANAGEMENT PLAN

The fishery continued to be managed in accordance with the Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery Management Plan 2005 and resolutions mandated by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission.

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