Syngnathid (pipefish) Harvest from the Queensland East Coast Trawl Fishery

Declaration of an Approved Wildlife Trade Operation
Commonwealth of Australia Gazette No. S261, 11 July 2002

Commonwealth of Australia
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
Declaration of an Approved Wildlife Trade Operation

I, David Kemp, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, have considered in accordance with section 303FN of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the Act) the application from the Queensland Fisheries Service, public comments on the proposal as required under section 303FR, and advice on the ecological sustainability of the operation. I am satisfied on those matters specified in section 303FN of the Act. I hereby declare the operations for the incidental harvesting of Solegnathus dunckeri and Solegnathus hardwickii by licensed operators under the Queensland Fisheries Act 1994, a commercial fishery in accordance with section 303FN (10)(2), to be an approved Wildlife Trade Operation for the purposes of the Act.

Unless amended or revoked, this declaration:

  1. has effect in relation to the regulated native specimens listed in the Schedule and subject to the conditions applied under section 303FT specified in the Schedule, and
  2. is valid from 1 July 2002 until 1 July 2005.

Dated this 10th day of July 2002

[Signed]

David Kemp
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

Subject to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975, a person or persons whose interests are affected by this declaration may, within 28 days, make an application in writing to Department of the Environment and Heritage for the reasons for the decision. An application for independent review of the decision may be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, on payment of the relevant fee, by or on behalf of the person or persons whose interests are affected, either within 28 days of receipt of the reasons for the decision, or within 28 days of this declaration if reasons for the decision are not sought. Further information may be obtained from:

Director, Sustainable Fisheries Section
Marine and Water Division
Department of the Environment and Heritage
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Telephone: (02) 6274 1917 Facsimile: (02) 6274 1006


Schedule

Additional Provision (s303FT)

Declaration of the Harvest Operations for Solegnathus dunckeri and Solegnathus hardwickii in Queensland waters as an approved Wildlife Trade Operation

Regulated native specimens to which the declaration applies
Taxon Common name Product type
Solegnathus dunckeri Duncker's pipehorse Dried product
Solegnathus hardwickii Pallid pipehorse Dried product

Relating to the harvesting of Solegnathus dunckeri and Solegnathus hardwickii harvested from Queensland waters by licensed operators under the Fisheries Act 1994.

Declaration Conditions

  1. Operation of the fishery will be carried out in accordance with the Queensland Fisheries (East Coast Trawl) Management Plan 1999 and the requirements of any permits issued under the Queensland Fisheries Act 1994 or other directions to operators relating to capture and retention of syngnathid fishes (species in the families Syngnathidae and Solenostomidae).
  2. The Queensland Fisheries Service shall by May 2003, make the necessary arrangements for the expansion of the current recording of data on catches of syngnathid species in the ECTF (T1) logbooks to include recording by species for retained permitted catch of pipehorses.
  3. The Queensland Fisheries Service shall refine and implement programs for the independent validation of catch and bycatch data from the ECT fishery logbook program, including the following:
    1. Design, implementation and preliminary assessment of a pilot observer program by May 2004; and
    2. using information gained from the pilot study, design and develop for implementation a long-term observer program capable of providing statistically-robust estimates of bycatch in the East Coast Trawl Fishery and the Stout Whiting Fishery within five years, and provide by April 2005 a report on the proposed program and its implementation.
  4. The Queensland Fisheries Service shall identify measures for the progressive reduction and avoidance of catches of syngnathids, particularly in those areas associated with higher rates of syngnathid bycatch. Measures may include gear modification, seasonal or area closures or other operational measures and should be applied progressively as they are identified and can be implemented. The Department of Environment and Heritage shall be notified of any proposed change to management measures to implement such measures.
  5. The Queensland Fisheries Service shall develop and implement by May 2003 processes for the routine collection and analysis of information from buyers of pipehorses from the Queensland ECT fishery, including to the extent practicable species composition, quantities and weights of product, size distribution and indicators of reproductive status.
  6. The Queensland Fisheries Service will complete a review of existing information, on habitat types within the East Coast Trawl Fishery area, habitat distribution and relationships with levels of catch of selected principal target species and syngnathids by January 2003. This analysis will be updated annually and reported by 30 April each year to the Department of the Environment and Heritage. Included in this will be an assessment of the characteristics of benthic habitat in untrawled (green zones and untrawlable ground), and lightly, moderately and heavily trawled areas based on the results of seabed biodiversity research work undertaken as part of CRC Reef Research Centre Projects and other QDPI research and monitoring projects.
  7. The Queensland Fisheries Service shall provide for the design and implementation of expanded fishery independent surveys of bycatch in the East Coast Trawl Fishery area by 1 July 2005, to provide progressive improvement in the understanding of the associations of syngnathid catch and bycatch with habitat characteristics.
  8. The Queensland Fisheries Service shall complete and report by 31 December 2002 on a desk top study to:
    1. refine the current preliminary compilation of information on life history characteristics of syngnathid species which may be taken in the fishery;
    2. refine current preliminary assessments of vulnerability; and
    3. identify information gaps and priority areas for further work on vulnerability, management and minimisation of the interactions with syngnathid in this fishery
  9. The Queensland Fisheries Service shall to the extent practicable, by 1 July 2004, commission or support research to assess the reproductive potential, growth rates and other population characteristics of syngnathid species impacted by the East Coast Trawl Fishery relevant to assessment of the ecological sustainability of impacts from the ECTF. Progress and final reports on such work will be provided to the Department of the Environment and Heritage.
  10. The Queensland Fisher Service shall complete and report on a risk analysis of the vulnerability of syngnathids to the impacts of fishing activities under the ECTF by 15 April 2005. This analysis should include:
    1. the distribution and catches of all east coast syngnathid species mapped against trawling activity;
    2. an assessment of the effectiveness of the retention limits for permitted species in relation to total catch levels as a protective measure for syngnathids;
    3. assessment of effectiveness of other implemented management measures in minimising the identified risks to syngnathids, including measures implemented in accordance with Condition 4; and
    4. options for enhanced protection and the avoidance and progressive reduction of interactions with syngnathids. These may include gear modification, seasonal or areas closures and/or other operational measures focussing on catch 'hotspots' highlighted in fishery and fishery-independent data.
  11. Reports to be provided annually by 30 April each year by the Queensland Fisheries Service to the Department of the Environment and Heritage to include:
    1. total catch and catch per unit effort, by species, by fishery statistical reporting grid by month, submitted for syngnathid catch taken in the previous calendar year;
    2. an overall assessment of syngnathid bycatch in the East Coast Trawl Fishery including, but not limited to, progress on addressing monitoring, compliance issues and research; and
    3. review of progress on conditions 2 to 10 above.
  12. This declaration is valid until 1 July 2005.