74th AFMA commission meeting - Chairman's Summary

The Commission met for its 74th meeting via teleconference on 22 September 2020.

This document provides a summary of the key discussions and decisions by the Commission. It is not a record of discussions and does not cover agenda items and discussions that are either routine or confidential.

1. Southern Bluefin Tuna Management Plan Amendment

The purpose of this meeting was to consider the public comments received on the proposed amendment to the Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) Management Plan. The amendment gives effect to the decision to set aside five per cent of Australia’s Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) allocation to account for recreational catch.

In making its decision, the Commission noted:

  • That all submissions received through the public consultation process, the SBT Management Advisory Committee (SBTMAC), and the Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association (ASBTIA), supported the intent of the amendment.
  • Despite overarching support for the amendment, some statutory fishing right (SFR) holders expressed concern that five per cent of the SFRs they purchased were being taken away when in fact this is not the case.  The Commission noted that this characterisation was not accurate as the amendment does not impact on the number of SFRs either held by individuals or in the fishery, but changes the process for setting the commercial total allowable catch.
  • An additional sentence had been included into the explanatory statement to more clearly capture the intent of the amendment, which is to ensure the AFMA Commission can set the commercial total allowable catch up to 95 per cent of the CCSBT allocation but not more.  This sentence also ensures consistency with the announced government policy position.

The Commission agreed that, after consideration of the public comments received, no changes were required to the proposed amendment and agreed to determine the Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery Management Amendment (Recreational Fishing) Plan 2020.

The Commission acknowledged the hard work by all stakeholders to arrive at this outcome for what has been a long-standing, contentious issue.

Helen Kroger


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