12 February 2015

Posted on 16 February 2015

On 12 February 2015 the Australian Fisheries Management Authority received notification that Seafish Tasmania Pty Ltd has nominated the Geelong Star to fish it’s concessions in the Small Pelagic Fishery. The nomination follows the registration by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) of the Geelong Star as an Australian-flagged boat.

Anyone who holds statutory fishing rights (SFRs) to fish in any Commonwealth fisheries can nominate an Australian flagged boat to their fishing concessions. The nominated boat must satisfy the requirements of the Fisheries Management Regulations 1992 at all times.

AFMA’s strict regulations ensure that all fishing operations are undertaken sustainably and in pursuit of the objectives set out in the Fisheries Management Act 1991 and the statutory Small Pelagic Fishery Management Plan.

All boats fishing in Commonwealth waters are subject to the rules and regulations of that particular fishery. In addition to individual quota to limit the amount of fish able to be caught, rules and regulations for the Small Pelagic Fishery also include requirements for:

  • all vessels to be fitted with a GPS tracking system to allow AFMA to track a boats location in ‘real time’
  • the carrying of independent observers and/or electronic monitoring (including cameras), as required by AFMA, to monitor fishing practices
  • the use of equipment to reduce interactions with wildlife, such as excluder devices to minimise risks to seals and dolphins
  • an AFMA approved Vessel Management Plan for potential interactions with marine mammals and birds
  • the keeping of catch and effort log books
  • landing all catch in Australia to a licensed Commonwealth fish receiver
  • Compliance Officers to inspect catch and log books when the vessel returns to port.

Seafish Tasmania Pty Ltd is also required to meet obligations under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The Small Pelagic Fishery Management Booklet 2014-15 combined with the Small Pelagic Fishery Harvest Strategy and the Small Pelagic Fishery Bycatch and Discarding Workplan provide detailed information on the management of the fishery.  On 24 December 2014, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck announced that vessels more than 130m in length would not be permitted to fish in Commonwealth fisheries.  The nominated vessel is under this threshold.

Additional information on AFMA’s management of the Small Pelagic Fishery, including frequently asked questions, can be found on the Small Pelagic Fishery page.