Estuary General Fishery - Ministerial decision 2003

Ministerial Decision
David Kemp, Minister for the Environment and Heritage

The Hon Ian Macdonald MLC
Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries
Parliament House
Macquarie St
Sydney NSW 2000

Dear Minister

In January 2003 NSW Fisheries submitted the document Estuary General Fishery Management Strategy for assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

The submission has been assessed by my Department in accordance with the wildlife trade provisions of Part 13A of the EPBC Act.

I am pleased to advise that assessment of the fishery is now complete. The assessment report will be available on the DEH website at: www.deh.gov.au/coasts/fisheries/index.html.
I am satisfied that for the purposes of the wildlife trade provisions in part 13A of the EPBC Act, the management arrangements provide the basis for the fishery to be managed in an ecologically sustainable way. I shall therefore amend the list of exempt native specimens, including product sourced under the Estuary General Fishery Management Strategy (FMS), for a period of five years. Such listing will serve to exempt the fishery from other export controls of the Act and exempt exporters from requiring export permits under the Act.

The management arrangements for the fishery meet the Commonwealth's Guidelines for the Ecologically Sustainable Management of Fisheries. The fishery is managed under a comprehensive and adaptable regime capable of controlling, monitoring and enforcing the level of take from the fishery. The combination of management arrangements, data gathering and proposed research provides confidence in the fishery's ability to ensure sustainable catch levels, maintain acceptable bycatch levels, minimise interaction with protected species and manage impacts on the wider ecosystem. I greatly appreciate the way your Department has worked closely with mine to integrate the ecological sustainability requirements of the EPBC Act into the development of the FMS.

While there are some environmental risks associated with the fishery, I believe that the FMS addresses them adequately. I commend the significant reforms that you have introduced through the Estuary General FMS. A number of these have been critical to my decision to exempt product from this fishery from the export controls of the EPBC Act. I understand that officers from our two departments have agreed that particular attention will be paid to implementation of these actions, as set out in the attached recommendations, over the coming 5 years leading up to our next review. I look forward to receiving your agreement to the implementation of these recommendations.

As the Scientific Observer program is a key project underpinning a number of the management responses in the FMS, I would like my Department to have the opportunity to comment on the final design of the project. In addition, I understand that your Department is undertaking an innovative project "Towards Ecosystem-based fishery management in NSW using Spatial Ecosystem Simulation". I would welcome consultation with my Department on this project.

I would like to thank you for the constructive way in which your officials have approached this task and I look forward to reviewing the remainder of the New South Wales managed fisheries.

Yours sincerely

[Signed]

David Kemp
Minister for the Environment and Heritage