Following passage of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Declared Commercial Fishing Activities) Act 2012 (Cth), the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Tony Burke MP has made the Interim (Small Pelagic Fishery) Declaration 2012 (the Interim Declaration).
The Interim Declaration provides that a commercial fishing activity which:
a) is in the area of the Small Pelagic Fishery;
b) uses the mid-water trawl method; and
c) uses a vessel which is greater than 130 metres in length, has an on-board fish processing facility and has storage capacity for fish or fish products in excess of 2000 tonnes,
is a declared commercial fishing activity for the purposes of Chapter 5B of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act).
The Interim Declaration prohibits the declared commercial fishing activity for a period of 60 days while the Minister consults with affected fishing concession holders about the making of a final declaration. A final declaration may be put in place for a period of up to 24 months while an expert panel assesses the environmental impacts of the declared commercial fishing activity.
Consultation with "declaration affected persons"
Declaration affected persons are invited to make a written submission to the Department about the impact on their rights or interests in relation to fishing if a final declaration was to be made for the same declared commercial fishing activity that is specified in the Interim Declaration.
In making a submission, declaration affected persons are also invited to address:
(a) whether there is uncertainty about the environmental impacts of the declared commercial fishing activity specified in the Interim Declaration; and
(b) whether it is appropriate that the declared commercial fishing activity be prohibited while an expert panel conducts an assessment.
In order to make a submission on these issues, declaration affected persons may find it useful to look at a briefing note which was provided to the Minister for the purposes of making the Interim Declaration.
- Briefing Note: Environmental impacts of large mid-water trawl freezer vessels in the Small Pelagic Fishery (PDF - 38KB) | (Word - 32KB)
Download the consultation notice
The terms "Small Pelagic Fishery", "mid-water trawl method" and "commercial fishing activity" are defined in the Interim Declaration.
The term "declaration affected person" is defined in subsection 390SE(3) of the EPBC Act.
The terms "fish", "fishing" and "fishing concession" have the same meanings as in the Fisheries Management Act 1991 (Cth).
How to provide comments
Comments are sought by 16 October 2012. Comments can be sent to:
Sustainable Fisheries Section
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
GPO Box 787
CANBERRA ACT 2601