Southern Squid Jig Fishery

Ministerial Decision
Ian Campbell, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, 1 November 2004

The Hon Tony Rundle
Chairman
Australian Fisheries Management Authority
Box 7051 Canberra Mail Centre
Canberra ACT 2610

Dear Mr Rundle

On 30 June 2004 the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) submitted the documents - Draft assessment report - Southern Squid Jig Fishery and the Southern Squid Jig Fishery Management Plan (2004) (the Management Plan), for strategic assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the Act).

The Southern Squid Jig Fishery has been strategically assessed against the Australian Government's Guidelines for the Ecologically Sustainable Management of Fisheries for the Strategic Assessment purposes of Part 10 of the Act. The fishery was also assessed in accordance with the wildlife trade provisions of Part 13A of the Act, and to determine whether the fishery should be accredited for the purposes of the protected species provisions of Part 13 of the Act.

I am pleased to advise that the assessment of the fishery is now complete. Once decisions are finalised, the assessment report will be available on the Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) website through the following address: http://www.deh.gov.au/coasts/fisheries/index.html.

I am satisfied that AFMA has provided an adequate report on the current and likely impacts of actions taken in accordance with the management plan. The fishery is generally managed in a precautionary and strategic manner, however there are some environmental risks associated with the fishery and I have made recommendations (at Attachment A) relating to their management. I understand that these recommendations have been agreed by officials in our two agencies. Subject to our agreement on recommendations, I am satisfied on the following matters.

I am satisfied that actions taken in accordance with the Management Plan are unlikely to have an unacceptable or unsustainable impact on the environment. Accordingly, I am prepared to endorse the Management Plan for the purposes of Part 10 of the Act and will table a notice of intent to accredit it as soon as possible after we have agreed on the recommendations.

I am also satisfied that it is unlikely that fishing operations conducted in accordance with the Management Plan will adversely affect the conservation status of protected species, or affect the survival and recovery of threatened species. I am satisfied that the management arrangements for the Southern Squid Jig Fishery, including the Bycatch Action Plan, meet the requirements of Part 13 of the Act, that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure that protected species are not injured or killed, and that the level of interactions with such species in the fishery is not likely to adversely affect the conservation status of protected species or the survival and recovery of listed threatened species. I propose to accredit the Management Plan accordingly. Accreditation will ensure that individual fishers operating in accordance with the plan are not required to seek permits in relation to interactions with protected species.

I am also satisfied that, for the purposes of the wildlife trade provisions in Part 13A of the Act, the Management Plan provides for the fishery to be managed in an ecologically sustainable way. I accordingly propose to amend the list of exempt native specimens established under s303DB of the Act to include product from this fishery for a period of five years.

AFMA has developed a strategic management framework for the Southern Squid Jig Fishery, which seeks to minimise the impact of the fishery on bycatch, protected species and the environment in general. I strongly encourage the continuation of this precautionary approach to the management of the fishery and believe that my recommendations will further strengthen management. I look forward to receiving your agreement to implement them.

I would like to thank you for the constructive way in which your officials have approached this assessment.

Yours sincerely

[Signed]

Ian Cresswell
Delegate of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage

1 November 2004


Recommendations to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA)

Recommendation 1: AFMA to inform DEH of any proposed amendment to the management regime for the Southern Squid Jig Fishery, to enable DEH to evaluate any impact on the ecological sustainability of the fishery.

Recommendation 2: AFMA to continue to cooperate with other relevant jurisdictions to pursue complementary management and research of shared stocks for squid target and by-product species, which may be affected by cross-jurisdictional issues.

Recommendation 3: Within 2 years of completion of the Ecological Risk Assessment project, AFMA to identify and implement appropriate management strategies to address/mitigate impacts identified through the ecological risk assessment of the Southern Squid Jig Fishery.

Recommendation 4: AFMA to continue to encourage and facilitate further research on arrow squid that will assist with the development of ecologically sustainable yield estimates.

Recommendation 5: AFMA to develop, within 2 years, interim performance measures sufficient to detect significant declines in the abundance of squid.

Recommendation 6: AFMA to ensure that adequate validation of logbook data on bycatch and protected species interactions is undertaken.