On 1 April 2015, AFMA Compliance and Bycatch Officers inspected the Geelong Star, the mid-water trawl vessel recently nominated by Seafish Tasmania Pty Ltd in the Small Pelagic Fishery.
AFMA Compliance Officers confirmed the vessel met AFMA’s conditions for entry of fishing vessels to Australia and that AFMA’s tamper-proof, GPS-based vessel tracking system was correctly installed and fully operational. The officers also collected detailed vessel information to assist them during future inspections to ensure compliance with AFMA’s catch limits and other management arrangements.
AFMA Bycatch Officers inspected the bycatch mitigation devices required by AFMA including the marine mammal excluder and seabird scaring devices installed on the Geelong Star’s mid-water trawl gear. The officers also undertook an assessment of the vessel’s ability to comply with AFMA’s full suite of requirements to monitor and minimise impacts on non-target species and the broader marine environment and gave an educational presentation to the vessel’s skippers and crew advising them of the requirements.
Following AFMA’s initial inspection of the vessel, it will now work with the company, vessel crew and bycatch experts to finalise the Vessel Management Plan (VMP). This plan will set out the detailed operational requirements that minimise the impact of fishing operations on non-target marine wildlife and other fisheries (recreational and commercial). The conditions set out in the VMP are in addition to, or otherwise reinforce, AFMA’s standard operating and reporting conditions for all mid-water trawl vessels in the Small Pelagic Fishery.
All mid-water trawl vessels in the Small Pelagic Fishery must have an AFMA-approved VMP before commencing fishing operations. Once finalised, AFMA will publish the VMP on our website. Please note that the VMP is subject to change by AFMA at any time (even within a fishing trip) in response to new information about the fishing operations and/or the marine environment.
For more information read the FAQs for the Small Pelagic Fishery on the Small Pelagic Fishery page.