Tasmanian Abalone Fishery

Ministerial Decision
David Kemp, Minister for the Environment and Heritage, 5 February 2002

The Hon David Llewellyn MHA
Minister for Primary Industries, Water and Environment
1st Floor Franklin Square Offices
Hobart TAS 7000

Dear Minister

In May 2001 your portfolio provided to mine the document Assessing the ecological sustainability of the Tasmanian Abalone fishery for assessment under the Wildlife Protection (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1982. This Act has now been superseded by amendments to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

The fishery has been assessed both to determine whether the fishery should be exempt from the export controls of Part 13 A of the EPBC Act, and to determine whether the fishery should be accredited for the purposes of the protected species provisions of Part 13 of the Act. The latter assessment is required because the fishery takes place in part in Commonwealth waters.

I am pleased to advise that assessment of the fishery is now complete. I am satisfied that the management arrangements proposed for this fishery are consistent with the objectives of Part 13 A of the EPBC Act. In particular, it is noted that there is no significant bycatch in the fishery and arrangements are in place that will ensure catches of target species are managed in an ecologically sustainable way.

Accordingly, I have determined that the two species, Haliotis rubra, blacklip abalone, and Haliotis laevigata, greenlip abalone currently harvested commercially uJ;lder the management arrangements for the Tasmanian Abalone Fishery should be included on the list of exempt native specimens. The exemption will be in place for a period of five years, as set out in the decision.

Interactions with protected species in this fishery are unlikely in the nonI1al course of fishing operations and I am satisfied that no accreditation is required for the purposes of Part 13 of the Act. The assessment report is available on the EA website at the following address: http://www.ea.gov.au/coasts/fisheries/index.html.

I have, however, made a number of recommendations for actions that should be undertaken prior to the next review in five years time (attached). I understand these have been agreed between officials. I suggest that within the next six months our respective departments agree a timetable for implementation of these recommendations to ensure that they are implemented smoothly.

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 your export fisheries prior to December 2003.

Yours sincerely

[Signed]

David Kemp
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

5th February 2002


Recommendation 1. DPIWE should develop and provide, as part of the public review process for the management arrangements of the Tasmanian abalone fishery in 2004, proposed system based management objectives for the fishery and an assessment of the options for associated biological reference, target and limit levels, and performance measures.

Recommendation 2. Continue to develop methods to determine the patterns and scale of local population structure and productivity within the fishery, and develop management techniques to take that spatial structure into account in implementing harvest strategies at the appropriate scales.

Recommendation 3. Undertake periodic reviews of the extent of the take and level of recreational abalone fishing, and refine management measures if considered necessary.

Recommendation 4. The compliance and enforcement strategy should be periodically reviewed to ensure emerging compliance risks are identified and addressed.

Recommendation 5. Continue development, implementation and maintenance of long-teen industry independent monitoring and field sampling of abalone populations, including the development of baseline monitoring of the population dynamics of abalone in areas closed to commercial operations.

Recommendation 6. Representation in the fishery assessment process should be increased to strengthen representation from conservation and other community interests. Consideration should also be given to broader public notification of the opportunities to provide input into the assessment process. The existing stock assessment process would be further strengthened by periodic peer review.