AFMA aims to minimise the impacts of commercial fisheries on all aspects of the marine environment.  This is achieved through the assessment of  risks and the development of appropriate ecological risk management strategies.

AFMA’s adoption of ecosystem based fisheries management considers the impacts of fishing on five components of the marine environment:

  • target species
  • byproduct species
  • bycatch/discard species
  • threatened, endangered and protected species
  • habitats and communities.

Target species, and some byproduct species, are managed under fishery specific harvest strategies. They set out the management actions necessary to achieve the Commonwealth Harvest Strategy Policy and Guidelines 2007, including processes for monitoring and conducting assessments.

Bycatch species,threatened, endangered and protected species, habitats and communities are managed under an ecological risk management framework.

Ecological risk assessments are used to identify which species, habitats and communities are at risk from the impacts of fishing. The assessment involves a hierarchy of risk assessment methodologies progressing from a qualitative analysis at Level 1 to a more detailed and quantitative analysis at Level 3. This approach is a way of screening out low risk activities and focusing more detailed analyses on high risk activities.

ERA heirarchy diagram

Ecological risk management strategies are then developed to respond to the outcomes of the risk assessment (high risk species) but also to address general bycatch and discarding issues in the fishery.

Through data collection and management arrangements, AFMA aims to reduce the number of species at risk by mitigating the impact of fishing. The objectives of the strategies are to:

  • reduce the number of high risk species assessed through the ecological risk assessment process
  • minimise interactions with species listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
  • reduce discarding of target and non-target species to as close to zero as practically possible
  • minimise overall bycatch in the fishery over the long-term.

Click a fishery below to view its ecological risk assessment and management strategy