Diving and hand collection refers to removing species from the sea floor or off rocks by hand.
Species targeted by hand collection
There are three sectors in the Coral Sea Fishery that target species using hand collection – these are the Aquarium Sector, the Lobster and Trochus Sector, and the Sea Cucumber Sector.
The Aquarium Sector sources a vast variety (over 500) of fish species by diving and hand collection, including angelfish, damselfish, gobies, surgeonfish and wrasses. The Aquarium Sector also collects live rock which is subject to a Total Allowable Catch.
The Sea Cucumber Sector’s target species such black teatfish, white teatfish, sand fish, prickly redfish and surf red fish.
The Lobster and Trochus Sector targets lobster species.
How diving and hand collection works
Species being collected can be picked up, taken off structures or dug out by hand.
The Sea Cucumber and Lobster and Trochus Sectors of the Coral Sea Fishery require operators to use underwater breathing apparatus.
The Aquarium Sector of the Coral Sea Fishery is unique in that operators can either use their hands, barbless hook and lines, cast nets and seine nets and/or scoop nets for catching fish. Gear restrictions are in place for this sector and the use of chemicals and or explosives for taking fish is prohibited.
Environmental impacts and management
The hand collection method is highly selective, has minimal impact on the environment and avoids incidental catch of non-target species. Fishing using this method requires few mitigation measures.