AFMA manages commercial fishers operating in Commonwealth waters. Strict rules apply where commercial fishers encounter (interact with) protected species.
Protected species are listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) which is administered by the Department of the Environment. All Commonwealth commercial fisheries are accredited by the Department of the Environment and AFMA and the fishing industry take all reasonable steps to minimise interactions with protected species. Commonwealth commercial fishers must report all interactions with protected species to AFMA.
Marine species listed under the EPBC Act include seals and sea lions, sharks, turtles, seabirds and cetaceans (whales and dolphins).
Species listed fall into four main categories:
- a member of a listed threatened species or listed threatened ecological community
- a member of a listed migratory species
- a member of a listed marine species
- a cetacean