Assessment of the Southern and Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery

Environmental assessment under the EPBC Act
Department of the Environment and Heritage, November 2004
ISBN 0 6425 5094 8

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About the assessment report

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has submitted documents for the assessment of the Southern and Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery (SWTBF) under Parts 10, 13 and 13A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act).

On 5 February 2002 the Minister for the Environment and Heritage (the Minister) signed an Agreement with AFMA to initiate the strategic assessment of the fishery. Following public consultation, closing on 15 March 2002, Terms of Reference - Environmental Assessment of the Southern and Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery were adopted and are available through the Department of the Environment and Heritage's (DEH) website (www.deh.gov.au/coasts/fisheries). The draft assessment report - Southern and Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery and a draft of the proposed Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery Management Plan (WTBF MP) were received by DEH and released for public comment on 2 October 2002. The public comment period closed on 15 November 2002. 41 submissions were received, of which 8 referred specifically to the draft assessment report. AFMA prepared a response to these, making corrections to the report and/ or the proposed WTBF MP as considered appropriate.

On 17 July 2003 AFMA released the proposed WTBF MP for a second round of public comment, closing on 18 August 2003. The Assessment report was not amended as a result of these management plan amendments as it was agreed between AFMA and DEH that the plan amendments dealt with improvements to the allocation of Statutory Fishing Rights (SFR) and to compliance issues and did not substantively change the nature or content of the Assessment report. In the responses received 5 made comment on the draft assessment report and AFMA prepared a response to these, making corrections to the report as considered appropriate. Similarly, the Assessment report was not released for public consultation when the draft plan was released for its third and final round of public comment on 7 April 2004.

The final documentation for the strategic assessment of the fishery (namely the draft Assessment report, information to cover the developments in the proposed WTBF MP between public consultation periods and AFMA's response to the public comments) was formally submitted to DEH for assessment on 14 July 2004.

See also