25 January 2017
The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) today released information to the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) on behalf of the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s (AMCS) on the fishing operations of the Geelong Star in the Small Pelagic Fishery (SPF), as part of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.
AFMA maintains that some information collected from fishing vessels and operators is commercially sensitive and/or raises privacy issues so it should not be publicly released. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner agreed with this position.
Images released today support information that was previously made available through existing public reporting mechanisms. Previous reporting has also included the notices as listed below. This is an extensive amount of information about just one boat out of the more than 300 that fish in Commonwealth fisheries
The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) regularly publishes large amounts of Commonwealth fisheries data, including the catch of commercial species and protected species interactions, outside of FOI process.
Information released about the Geelong Star included:
- 22 November 2016, Departure of the Geelong Star from Australian waters, advising that the Geelong Star was no longer under Australian jurisdiction.
- 20 September 2016, New science released by FRDC, on new science relevant to the SPF
- 30 April 2016, Small Pelagic Fishery – catch limits set for 2016-17 season, announcing the total allowable catch limits for commercial species for the 2016-17 season
- 17 March 2016, Whale shark interaction – observer report, release of the Wildlife Interaction Report prepared by AFMA’s Scientific Observer on the Geelong Star’s interaction with a whale shark on 11 February 2016.
- 24 February 2016, Whale shark interaction – video footage consistent with observer report, statement confirming that AFMA had reviewed the video footage of the Geelong Star’s interaction with a whale shark/
- 19 February 2016, Whale shark interaction with Geelong Star, statement about the Geelong Star’s interaction with a whale shark, noting that numerous media outlets were provided with this information on 17 February 2016.
- 1 February 2016, Additional seabird protection measures in place, regarding additional measures put the Geelong Star’s Vessel Management Plan to help minimise seabird interactions.
- 29 January 2016, Action taken after albatross mortalities, announcing that the Geelong Star had been told to stop fishing after a higher than expected level of albatross mortalities.
- 16 September 2015, Change in fishing conditions in the Small Pelagic Fishery, about the ban on night time fishing being removed.
- 19 June 2015, SPF zone closure, advising that due to a dolphin mortality caused by the Geelong Star on 17 June 2015, management zone six of the SPF was now closed to mid-water trawling for six months.
- 06 May 2015, Strict new conditions imposed in the Small Pelagic Fishery, advising that the Geelong Star, will only be allowed to fish during daytime hours as part of more restrictive measures put in place by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA)
- 02 May 2015, Geelong Star – operational update, advising of four further dolphin mortalities from fishing by the Geelong Star, the vessel nominated by Seafish Tasmania Ltd to fish in the Small Pelagic Fishery
- 21 April 2015, AFMA strengthens marine mammal protection in the Small Pelagic Fishery, advising that as a result of two seal and four dolphin mortalities in the SPF, addition measures had been put in place.
- 1 April 2015, AFMA inspect the Geelong Star, advising that AFMA officer had inspected the Geelong Star.
- 12 February 2015, Boat Nomination to fish in the Small Pelagic Fishery confirming that received notification that Seafish Tasmania Pty Ltd has nominated the Geelong Star to fish it’s concessions in the Small Pelagic Fishery.
Further information on the FOI request can be found at afma.gov.au.