South Australian Abalone Fishery - Ministerial decision 2004

Ministerial Decision
Ian Campbell, Delegate of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, 10 June 2004

The Hon Rory McEwen MP
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries
Minister for State/Local Government Relations
Minister for Forests
GPO Box 2832
ADELAIDE SA 5000

Dear Minister

In May 2003 the Department of Primary Industries and Resources South Australia submitted the document Ecological Assessment of the South Australian Abalone Fishery for assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

The submission has been assessed for the purposes of the protected species provisions of Part 13 and 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 Department of Environment and Heritage website at: www.ea.gov.au/coasts/fisheries/index.html.

I am satisfied that the management arrangements for the fishery require that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure that protected species are not injured or killed and 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. Hence, the management arrangements for the South Australian Abalone Fishery meet the requirements of Part 13 of the Act and I propose to accredit the management arrangements accordingly. Accreditation will ensure that individual fishers operating in accordance with the management arrangements are not required to seek permits in relation to interactions with protected species in Commonwealth waters.

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 therefore propose to amend the list of exempt native specimens, to include specimens that are or are derived from fish taken in the South Australian Abalone Fishery, excluding specimens that are listed under Part 13 of the EPBC Act, for a period of five years. Such listing will serve to exempt the fishery from the export controls of the EPBC Act, providing the fishery continues not to involve the export of specimens listed on the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species.

The management arrangements for the fishery meet the Australian Government's Guidelines for the Ecologically Sustainable Management of Fisheries. The fishery is well managed under a comprehensive, adaptable, precautionary and ecologically based regime capable of controlling, monitoring and enforcing the level of take from the fishery. The combination of management arrangements, data gathering, proposed research and nature of the fishery allows confidence that the fishery managers will maintain low bycatch levels, minimise interaction with protected species and manage impacts on the wider ecosystem.

While there are some environmental risks associated with this fishery, I believe that the South Australian Abalone Fishery is addressing them adequately. Officers from our two departments have discussed key areas requiring ongoing attention. I understand that they have agreed to a number of recommended actions, focusing on ensuring the continuation of good management practices, to be implemented before the next Commonwealth review of the fishery. These recommendations, attached to the letter, have been an important factor in my decision to exempt the fishery and I look forward to receiving your confirmation that they will be implemented.

The outcomes of the assessment were also contingent on a range of provisions in the new Management Plan for the South Australian Abalone Fishery that will significantly contribute to the longer term sustainable management of the fishery. I understand that the final draft of the new Plan has been sent for your approval, and I would appreciate advice when the new Plan has been approved so that we can proceed to formalise the decisions made with this assessment.

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

Dated this Tenth day of June 2004

[signed]

Ian Cresswell
Delegate of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage

Recommendations

Recommendations to the Department of Primary Industries and Resources South Australia on the ecologically sustainable management of the South Australian Abalone Fishery

The South Australian Abalone Fishery is a well-managed fishery with a range of significant management measures to promote the ecologically sustainable harvesting of species from the fishery. A new Management Plan for the South Australian Abalone Fishery has recently been developed to provide the framework for these measures to ensure the longer term sustainable management of the fishery.

Sustainable management features of the fishery include:

  • A range of input and output controls for the target species;
  • An extensive range of reviewable biological objectives, strategies and performance indicators for the fishery;
  • A comprehensive fisheries dependant catch monitoring, disposal and reconciliation regime;
  • A comprehensive annual stock assessment process for each management Zone of the fishery; and
  • Highly targeted fishing methods with negligible interactions with non-target species and the surrounding marine ecosystem.

The following recommendations have been made to further strengthen the effectiveness of the management arrangements for the fishery and minimise environmental risks in the medium to longer term. The Department of Primary Industries and Resources South Australia (PIRSA) should action these recommendations before the next review in 2009.

  1. PIRSA Fisheries to consult with other fishery agencies on the development and implementation of appropriate biological parameters and reference points for abalone harvesting, and pursue with these agencies a national process for developing, adopting and reviewing these indicators, and for periodically reviewing abalone stock assessment processes.
  2. PIRSA to inform DEH of any future amendments to the Management Plan for the South Australian Abalone Fishery or managerial commitments made in the submission.
  3. PIRSA to ensure that the new stock assessment model be developed by the end of 2005 and be used as part of the stock assessment process from 2006.
  4. PIRSA, within 12 months, to more accurately quantify the extent of recreational, indigenous and illegal catch, and to take account of all removals, including aquaculture broodstock, in the stock assessment process and the determination of the annual TACC.
  5. PIRSA, within 2 years, to develop and implement enhanced fishery independent research and monitoring programs for greenlip and blacklip abalone in the Central and Western Zones, representative of species distribution and catch across these zones of the fishery, to improve the understanding of the stock status in these zones and support the development of more refined stock assessments and models.
  6. PIRSA within 2 years to further develop biological sampling programs, representative of species distribution and catch across all zones of the fishery, to provide the necessary data to inform the range of biological performance measures in the Management Plan for the South Australian Abalone Fishery and support the development of more refined assessment models.
  7. PIRSA to investigate and establish, over the next 3 years, appropriate decision rules or strategies, relevant to the regional or area scale management as required, to prevent serial depletion of blacklip and greenlip abalone stocks in all zones of the fishery.
  8. PIRSA to continue to work with other jurisdictions to develop effective strategies and response measures to quantify and reduce the extent of illegal take of abalone in SA.
  9. PIRSA to develop within 18 months recovery strategies that can be applied to areas assessed as below key reference points or levels for stock abundance and recruitment. The recovery strategies should include preliminary recovery targets and monitoring arrangements, appropriate to the scale of fishing in the area, and associated timeframes.
  10. PIRSA, within 12 months, to develop options for the recording and reporting of protected species interactions in the fishery.
  11. PIRSA to give priority to developing environmental indicators that can be reported against in future Stock assessment reports.