Fishers are reminded of the importance of minimising impacts on the marine environment. Taking an active role to ensure your fishing practises reduce unintentional impacts on marine environment helps build public confidence in Australian seafood. It also reduces potentially higher costs to industry due to additional environmental requirements.
The majority of fishers take such issues seriously, although it has come to AFMA’s attention that a small number have not been meeting their responsibilities in the treatment of bycatch and reporting interactions with protected species.
Treatment of bycatch
Under the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery Management Plan 2003, concession holders are required to take all reasonable measures to ensure bycatch and the impact of fishing operations on the marine environment are kept to a minimum. This means fishers must ensure all marine species caught in fishing gear are returned to the water unharmed as quickly as possible. Fishers found to be intentionally harming species will be in breach of their access conditions.
Interactions with protected species
Commonwealth commercial fishers are required to report all interactions with listed species to AFMA in logbooks or catch reporting schemes in accordance with accreditation under Part 13 of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Non-reporting of listed species in AFMA logbooks is a breach of Australian law. In addition fishers could face compliance action with the Department of Environment if all interactions are not reported. A list of species you are required to report can be found on the AFMA website.
For more information please contact Mike Gerner, AFMA Bycatch Manager on 02 6225 5379
REMEMBER: Don’t get caught – just report.