The Bycatch and Discard Program works on focused and cost effective ways to help fishers minimise their impact on the marine environment.


AFMA is committed to bycatch reduction, improved protection for vulnerable/threatened species and minimising any adverse impacts of bycatch on the marine environment. The Bycatch and Discard Program was established in 2007 to provide additional resources and direction for pursuing policy and legislative objectives in relation to bycatch and discarding.

The program develops fishery specific workplans which focus on ‘high risk’ bycatch and threatened, endangered and protected species as identified though the ecological risk assessment process. The workplans are developed in consultation with the commercial fishing industry and research partners to find practical and affordable solutions.

What is bycatch?

“Species that physically interact with fishing vessels and/or fishing gear and are not usually kept by commercial fishers”
Bycatch species may include fish, crustaceans, sharks, molluscs, marine mammals, reptiles and birds. Bycatch includes listed protected species under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

What are discards?

“Any part of the catch which is returned to the sea, dead or alive”
Discards can apply to fish of a commercial species that are not kept (because they are undersize, or the fishers could not obtain quota, or trip limits apply) and to the disposal of species that fishers do not usually keep but are taken incidentally during fishing operations.