The independent AFMA Commission approved midwater pair trawling as a fishing method in the Commonwealth Small Pelagic Fishery (SPF).
This decision was made after considering the best available science and data with advice sought from the South East Management Advisory Committee, SPF Scientific Panel, SPF Stakeholder Forum, marine mammal and seabird experts and the public.
The period to comment publically on the determination of pair trawling as a fishing method opened on 22 December 2016 and closed 10 February 2017. In total, AFMA received 67 submissions, the majority of which were opposed to mid-water pair trawling in the fishery. Issues raised by the public included:
- impacts of fishing small pelagics on the broader ecosystem
- localised depletion
- risks to protected species
- negative impact on the recreational or tourism sector.