Report Against Intended Actions

Goal: Complete the implementation of the Australian Government’s policy preference for management by output controls in the form of individual transferable quota

Strategy: Introduce and refine individual transferable quota management arrangements in the Northern Prawn Fishery and other quota-managed fisheries

The implementation of individual transferable quota in the Northern Prawn Fishery continued during 2011-12, however the scheduled implementation date has been delayed until April 2013. This is because the method for determining total allowable catches for White Banana Prawns is still being refined.

Quota statutory fishing rights took effect in the Small Pelagic Fishery on 1 May 2012 and now the total allowable catch is allocated between operators through individually transferable quota.

Intended actions in 2011-12 Achieved
( tick / cross)
Comment
Determine the amended Northern Prawn Fishery Management Plan introducing individual transferable quotas. cross In March 2012 the AFMA Commission made a decision to delay the implementation of individual transferable quota in the Northern Prawn Fishery until the 2013 Banana Prawn season.
Complete pending allocations in the Small Pelagic Fishery and Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery. tick Allocation of individual transferable quotas in the Small Pelagic Fishery and Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery was completed during 2011-12.
Continue to implement supporting technology for individual transferable quota management in Commonwealth fisheries. tick Enhancements to AFMA’s licensing register, Pisces, and our online licensing service, GOFish, were made during 2011-12.

AFMA manages fisheries consistent with the precautionary principle

During 2011-12 AFMA made progress towards implementing quota management in the Northern Prawn Fishery.

AFMA manages fisheries consistent with the precautionary principle

AFMA’s sustainable catch limits are strictly enforced.

Goal: Improve the net economic returns of Commonwealth fisheries

Strategy: Refine management arrangements that facilitate sustainable and profitable fisheries in line with the Commonwealth Harvest Strategy Policy

The Australian Government’s Harvest Strategy Policy has maximising economic yield as its target reference point for Commonwealth fisheries. This target was adopted for fisheries management to improve industry profitability. For several years, we have been working to increase the number of fishery harvest strategies that have targets based on maximising economic yield.

AFMA implemented a range of closures in the gillnet sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery to protect Australian Sea Lions and dolphins. We are developing longer term management arrangements for the gillnet sector to address both sustainability and economic concerns.

AFMA continued to set catch limits, consistent with the Commonwealth Harvest Strategy Policy, based on science and fishery specific harvest strategies.

Intended actions in 2011-12 Achieved
( tick / cross)
Comment
Increase the number of harvest strategies that have targets based on maximum economic yield or the best available proxy. tick

There are now 18 stocks with targets based on maximum economic yield.

We plan to further increase this number in
2012-13.
Implement cost-effective electronic monitoring and reporting for vessels. tick E-monitoring was implemented for 12 vessels in the Gillnet Hook and Trap sector in 2011-12. AFMA also developed the systems and processes to support electronic monitoring across AFMA fisheries.
Conduct assessments on key target species and set total allowable catch or total allowable effort at levels that will prevent future overfishing in accordance with agreed harvest strategies. tick

Total allowable catches (or total allowable effort in some cases) were set for the following fisheries in accordance with the relevant harvest strategies:
• Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery
• Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery
• Macquarie Island Toothfish Fishery
• Heard Island and McDonald Islands Fishery
• Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery
• Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery
• Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery
• Northern Prawn Fishery
• Small Pelagic Fishery
• Southern Squid Jig Fishery

Goal: Deliver sustainable fisheries by managing fishing activities to ensure stocks are at sustainable harvest levels by preventing overfishing and recovering overfished stocks

Strategy: Commission stock assessments and targeted research that are timely and fit for purpose to underpin well informed management decisions and actions

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences provides an annual, independent evaluation of the biological status of fish stocks and the economic status of fisheries managed or jointly managed by the Australian Government.

Of the fish stocks assessed in Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences 2011 reports (published in late 2012), 13 stocks are categorised as being overfished and/or subject to overfishing. See figure 2 on page 48. Seven of the domestically managed stocks are subject to formal rebuilding strategies, including stock assessments, targeted research and output controls and closures aimed mainly at returning stocks to their limit reference point within a biologically reasonable time frame. A further three domestically managed stocks are subject to specific management measures to facilitate recovery. Three stocks are international species that are managed by regional fisheries management organisations.

AFMA continued to commission stock assessments and targeted research to inform management decisions and to set catch limits.

Intended actions in 2011-12 Achieved
( tick / cross)
Comment
Implement stock rebuilding strategies for species assessed as being below agreed limit reference points. tick

Stock rebuilding strategies exist for all domestically managed species assessed as being below the limit reference point for their fishery, except one.

Stock rebuilding strategies exist for Orange Roughy, Blue Warehou, Eastern Gemfish and School Shark.

There is no formal rebuilding strategy for Sandfish in Australia’s area of the Torres Strait Protected Zone. However, the total allowable catch is set at zero.

Provide support for development and management of regional and international fisheries. tick AFMA participated in a number of international forums during 2011-12, either through attendance at relevant meetings or by preparing or contributing to relevant fisheries briefings.

AFMA’s role is to provide specialist advice on best practice fisheries management approaches and monitoring, control and surveillance aspects of management.

Goal: Prevent unacceptable impacts of Commonwealth fisheries on marine ecosystems and organisms

Strategy: Assess risks and apply management measures under the AFMA Ecological Risk Management framework

Under AFMA’s ecological risk management framework, ecological risk management reports for each fishery outline how AFMA will address the impacts that fishing activities have on target species, by-product and discard species and threatened and endangered species.

In June 2012 the Commission approved a revitalisation of the ecological risk assessment process, which will see guidelines developed to help fisheries managers conduct ecological risk assessments, the updating of ERAs as they become due and consideration of how marine habitats and communities will be considered as part of ecological risk assessments.

Intended actions in 2011-12 Achieved
( tick / cross)
Comment
Progress implementation of ecological risk management responses. tick

AFMA continued to implement management responses to high risk species identified through ecological risk assessments.

Reassess ecological risk assessment and ecological risk management responses for fisheries as required by triggers. tick Reassessments of the Northern Prawn Fishery and the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery commenced.

The Commission agreed on a project to revitalise the ecological risk assessment and the ecological risk management project including more clearly defining the timing and scope of reassessments.

Determine the appropriateness of introducing output controls for bycatch and threatened endangered and protected species. cross

The appropriateness of introducing output controls for bycatch and threatened endangered and protected species will be considered following a decision on policy objectives incorporated in the reviews of the Commonwealth Harvest Strategy and the Commonwealth Bycatch Policy. These reviews are due to be completed by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in early 2013.

Revise conditions to manage impacts on demersal high seas fisheries in light of benthic impact assessments. cross

Work will continue in 2012-13 to update High Seas management arrangements, consistent with results of CSIRO benthic impact assessment and Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences sustainability assessment.

Goal: Implement management arrangements and frameworks that optimise compliance with regulations

Strategy: Make fisheries management arrangements more uniform, understandable and enforceable and minimise the necessary compliance burden

AFMA recognises that a best practice and cost effective method to compliance and enforcement is an approach which encourages the fishing community to willingly or voluntarily comply with fishery rules.

Voluntary compliance involves understanding the benefits of the rules and regulations, rather than fear of penalties for non-compliance.

To improve the level of voluntary compliance it is important that the fisheries management rules and the reasons for them are clearly understood and accepted by the fishing industry. We aim to achieve this through consultation with the fishing industry and other stakeholders.

We recognise that it is important to also make sure that the rules are easy to understand and, where possible, consistent across fisheries.

Intended actions in 2011-12 Achieved
( tick / cross)
Comment
Continue to reform fishery management rules to reduce complexity. tick

New regulations which combined the common rules across fisheries came into force on 4 August 2011.

The complexity of fisheries management plans was reduced when the out-dated rules, which were replaced by the new regulation, were removed on 19 December 2011.

A draft policy to streamline quota management arrangements across fisheries was released for public comment and is now being finalised.

Engage in international meetings to ensure agreed outcomes can be implemented by Australia. tick

During 2011-12, AFMA staff attended meetings of;
• the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission,
• the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and associated meetings,
• the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources,
• the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna,
• the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Workshop,
• Management Options workshops and Sub-committee on South Pacific Tuna and Billfish.

AFMA also participated in bilateral meetings with Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Malaysia to discuss fisheries matters of mutual interest.

AFMA provided briefing material for the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation, for the United Nations Committee on Fisheries and the International Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Network.

We also provided briefings on the effects of Australia signing the newly established Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement.

Ensure each management advisory committee meets at least once. tick

All management advisory committees met at least once during 2011-12 except for the Great Australian Bight Management Advisory Committee.

Provide 24 AFMA Update newsletters to update stakeholders tick

24 AFMA Update newsletters were published in 2011-12.

AFMA manages fisheries consistent with the precautionary principle

AFMA Fisheries Officers, Lydia Woodhouse and Alex IIles, conducting compliance inspections at ports. Maintaining a port presence is an important part of deterring illegal fishing activities.

Goal: Effectively deter illegal fishing in Commonwealth fisheries and the Australian Fishing Zone

Strategy: Conduct and enable management programs that target identified risks

AFMA continued to apply a risk-based domestic compliance program which allowed compliance and enforcement activity to target the areas of highest risk, maximising the use of resources.

In addition to the risk treatment model, AFMA maintained a general presence/deterrence role in ports and at sea in order to discourage non-compliant behaviour by fishers.

Illegal foreign fishing in the Australian Fishing Zone continued to decline in 2011-12. This is due to continual efforts by AFMA and other Australian Government departments to deter illegal foreign fishing, through the interception and prosecution of offenders and the confiscation and destruction of forfeited foreign fishing vessels. Regional efforts and co-operative partnerships are contributing to the prevention of illegal, unreported and unregulated operators undertaking forays into the Australian Fishing Zone.

In 2011-12 there were 12 apprehensions of illegal foreign fishing vessels, a continued decrease from 14 in 2010-11, 23 in 2009-10 and 27 in 2008-09.

Intended actions in 2011-12 Achieved
( tick / cross)
Comment
Undertake compliance activities in accordance with priority areas established through risk assessments. tick

Compliance risk management teams continued to apply measures to reduce risks associated with;
• fishing and navigating in closed areas
• failure to cover over-catch
• failure to report interactions with protected/ prohibited species
• quota evasion
• non-operational vessel monitoring systems.

Develop a compliance intelligence capacity that is fully effective. tick

AFMA’s intelligence unit undertakes regular analysis of data. Such as closure monitoring and vessel monitoring system compliance.

Supporting case management systems have been implemented. A quality assurance review of AFMA’s intelligence products is also underway.

Collaborate with like-minded agencies on deterring illegal, unreported and unregulated activity and developing fisheries management arrangements and capacity building. tick

AFMA worked through regional networks to have known illegal, unreported and unregulated vessels denied port access.

A work plan was developed with Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste to address current illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing issues in the region.

Exchange programs were conducted involving Indonesian, Papua New Guinean, East Timorese and Kiribati fisheries officers undertaking fisheries management and fisheries compliance training and participation on patrols.

In Indonesia, AFMA officers undertook an in-country public information campaign, three capacity building workshops and visited Indonesian ports known to be a source of illegal foreign fishing in the Australian Fishing Zone.

Review and develop options to amend the Fisheries Management Act 1991 structure for the domestic compliance regime, including powers, incentives, offences, and administrative and criminal penalties. in progress

In 2011-12 amendments to the Fisheries Management Act 1991 were prepared to improve the vicarious liability of corporate concession holders for the acts of its crews.

Amendments have been drafted and a Bill introduced to Parliament on improving the vicarious liability provisions. They are scheduled for debate in Parliament at the 2012 spring sitting.

Work is ongoing to identify options to improve offences and administrative criminal penalty provisions.

Goal: Continuously improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of fisheries administration

Strategy: Invest in business processes and technologies that match the core needs of AFMA and its stakeholders

During 2011-12 AFMA established electronic monitoring as a business-as-usual function in the gillnet sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery. This has enabled operators to save money by not having to take an observer.

AFMA has established the infrastructure and processes to support e-monitoring.

AFMA has continued to make improvements to our electronic licensing system “GOFish” which has increased in use during 2011-12. Electronic logbooks have continued to be available across a range of fisheries.

AFMA drafted a revised fee-for-service policy that will be implemented during 2012-13. The policy will assist fishing concession holders to choose the most cost effective option for a range of services that AFMA delivers.

Intended actions in 2011-12 Achieved
( tick / cross)
Comment
Continue to implement appropriate and cost effective fisheries management arrangements in Torres Strait fisheries on behalf of the Protected Zone Joint Authority, including development of management plans. tick

During 2011-12 AFMA made progress towards the development of management plans for the Torres Strait Finfish Fishery and the Torres Strait Tropical Rock Lobster Fishery.

A final Finfish Fishery Management Plan has been prepared following extensive community consultation and will be presented to the Protected Zone Joint Authority for decision during late 2012.

Develop a catch sharing policy to apportion shared resources between domestic jurisdictions. cross

AFMA engaged with state jurisdictions on the management of Snapper. The development of the policy is underway.

Develop and implement a plan to increase the uptake of e-logs, GOFish and e-monitoring in all fisheries. tick

During 2011-12 AFMA implemented e-monitoring in the Gillnet Hook and Trap sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery.

The AFMA Commission agreed to have e-monitoring in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery from 1 July 2013.

During 2011-12, AFMA developed a fee-for-service policy that will be implemented in 2012-13. This policy provides operators with an incentive to use electronic technology by ensuring that services are charged based on how they used.

Improve the coordination of fisheries management arrangements and processes required under other legislation including environmental. tick

AFMA instituted high level executive quarterly meetings with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities to improve the coordination of management arrangements and processes amongst the agencies.

AFMA will continue to make improvements through these meetings.

AFMA participated in meetings of an interdepartmental committee on the implementation of the government response to the independent review of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

AFMA continued to meet regularly with the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities at officer level to ensure smooth operation of processes required under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Goal: Develop operational framework for co-management in Commonwealth fisheries

Strategy: Apply lessons from co-management trials to enable industry to enhance their role in the management of commercial fisheries

Co-management in fisheries aims to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of management by building better relationships between government and its primary stakeholders. This involves building trust, respect and understanding between government, industry and other stakeholders.

The roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in the management of fisheries may be increased and in some cases, may involve taking on functions on behalf of the government.

The expertise and knowledge of stakeholders through increased responsibility can improve management and fishery outcomes.

Intended actions in 2011-12 Achieved
( tick / cross)
Comment
Implement a plan to communicate and apply the benefits of co-management principles to other Commonwealth fisheries. cross

Co-management trial results have been communicated through the AFMA Update newsletter and other reporting media.

AFMA has applied principles established during the co-management project through its engagement with peak fishing industry associations.

The co-management project report and communication plan will be finalised and implemented in 2012-13.