Small Pelagic Fishery

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Appointment of the second Expert Panel - September 2014

On 2 September 2014, the Australian Government Environment Minister appointed members to the Second Expert Panel on the Declared Commercial Fishing Activity that is the subject of the Final (Small Pelagic Fishery) Declaration (No.2) 2013. Four members have been appointed to the panel, Ms Mary Lack (chair,) Professor Peter Harrison, Associate Professor Simon Goldsworthy, and Dr Cathy Bulman.

History

 

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Final (Small Pelagic Fishery) Declaration (No. 2) 2013

On 26 April 2013 the then Australian Government Environment Minister made the decision to prevent mid-water trawl freezer and fish processing vessels with storage capacity greater than 1,600 tonnes from operating in the Small Pelagic Fishery for a period of up to 24 months. During this time an independent assessment will be conducted by an Expert Panel to determine the environmental impacts of the declared commercial fishing activity, particularly on species protected by Australia's national environment law.

Terms of Reference

A second Expert Panel has been established to conduct an assessment and report to the Environment Minister on the declared commercial fishing activity that is the subject of the Final (Small Pelagic Fishery) Declaration (No. 2) 2013.

Interim (Small Pelagic Fishery) Declaration (No. 2) 2013

On 25 February 2013 the Environment Minister, following consultation with the Fisheries Minister, made an interim declaration that the following commercial fishing activities are Declared Commercial Fishing Activities:

  • a commercial fishing activity that is in the area of the Small Pelagic Fishery, uses a mid-water trawl method and uses a vessel which has storage capacity of 1,600 tonnes or greater; and
  • a commercial fishing activity that is in the area of the Small Pelagic Fishery, uses a vessel which has storage capacity of 1,600 tonnes or greater and receives or processes fish or fish products that are quota species that have been taken in the Small Pelagic Fishery.

The interim declaration entered into force on 27 February 2013 and prohibits the Declared Commercial Fishing Activities for 60 days while consultation with declaration affected parties about the effect of making a final declaration takes place.

Consultation

Each person who:

  • holds a fishing concession (as defined in the Fisheries Management Act 1991 (Cth)), and
  • considers that they would be detrimentally affected by the making of a final declaration under section 390SF of the EPBC Act in relation to the Declared Commercial Fishing Activities,

is invited to make a written submission about the impact on their rights or interests in relation to fishing if a final declaration were to be made for the Declared Commercial Fishing Activities.

In making a submission, declaration affected persons are also invited to address:

  • whether there is uncertainty about the environmental impacts of the Declared Commercial Fishing Activities, and
  • whether it is appropriate that the Declared Commercial Fishing Activities 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 the Environment Minister's statement of reasons for making the interim declaration.

Written submissions must be received at the following email or postal address, no later than 5pm, Canberra time on Monday, 8 April 2013:

Email: sustainablefisheries@environment.gov.au
Post: Sustainable Fisheries Section
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
GPO Box 787
CANBERRA ACT 2601

Please note that submissions will not receive a response.

Final (Small Pelagic Fishery) Declaration 2012

On 19 November 2012 the then Australian Government Environment Minister made the decision to prevent mid-water trawl freezer vessels with storage capacity greater than 2,000 tonnes from operating in the Small Pelagic Fishery for a period of up to 24 months. During this time an independent assessment will be conducted by an Expert Panel to determine the environmental impacts of the declared commercial fishing activity, particularly on species protected by Australia's national environment law.

Terms of Reference

An Expert Panel has been established to conduct an assessment and report to the Environment Minister on the declared commercial fishing activity that is the subject of the Final (Small Pelagic Fishery) Declaration 2012. The Terms of Reference for the Expert Panel were announced on 11 January 2013.

Expert Panel Consultation Meetings — May 2014

On 2 May 2014, to help to inform its assessment, the Expert Panel on a Declared Commercial Fishing Activity held meetings with a range of invited stakeholders. The meetings involved representatives from the fishing industry, recreational fishers, conservation organisations, the Indigenous community, the scientific community and state government agencies. The meetings were held in Hobart with representatives attending either in person or via teleconference. The sessions included a presentation by the Expert Panel on its work to date, followed by an opportunity to discuss and provide advice on issues related to the Panel's terms of reference.

Interim (Small Pelagic Fishery) Declaration 2012

Following passage of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Declared Commercial Fishing Activities) Act 2012 (Cth), the then Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities 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.

Download the consultation notice

Defined terms
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
Email: sustainablefisheries@environment.gov.au

Fourth assessment - commenced 2012

Third assessment - commenced 2009

Second assessment - commenced 2007

First assessment - commenced 2003