Tasmanian Commercial Dive Fishery

Ministerial Decision
Department of the Environment and Heritage, 26 November 2005

The Hon Steven Kons MHA
Minister for Primary Industries and Water
5th Floor, Marine Board Building
1 Franklin Wharf
HOBART TAS 7000

Dear Minister

As Delegate of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, I am writing to you in relation to the assessment of the Tasmanian Commercial Dive Fishery under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). In July 2005 the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment (DPIWE) submitted the documents entitled Draft Policy Document and Draft Fisheries Rules for the Tasmanian Commercial Dive Fishery and Cost-Benefit Statement for Reviewing the Tasmanian Commercial Dive Fishery Management Plan for assessment under the EPBC Act.

The submission has been assessed for 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 the Environment and Heritage (DEH) website at: http://www.deh.gov.au/coasts/fisheries/tas/commercial-dive/index.html.

I am satisfied that, for the purposes of the wildlife trade provisions of 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 Tasmanian Commercial Dive 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 under 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 Tasmanian Commercial Dive Fishery is a small scale, low impact fishery that is appropriately precautionary. The combination of management arrangements, data gathering, 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 DPIWE is committed to addressing these issues. Officers from our two departments have discussed key areas requiring ongoing and increased attention. I understand that they have agreed to a number of recommended actions, focusing on addressing key issues, to be implemented before the next Australian Government review of the fishery. The recommendations (Attachment A) 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.

I would like to thank you for the constructive way in which your officials have approached this assessment.

Yours sincerely

[signed]

ANDREW MCNEE
Delegate of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage

26 November 2005


Recommendations

Attachment A

Recommendations to the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment (DPIWE) on the ecologically sustainable management of the Tasmanian Commercial Dive Fishery (CDF)

The CDF is a well-managed fishery with a range of management measures to promote the ecologically sustainable harvesting of species from the fishery. These measures include:

  • input and output controls including limited entry, Total Allowable Catch limits, restricted gear, zonal management, zone closures and size limits;
  • a range of reviewable management objectives and performance indicators / measures and strategies underpinned by a detailed statutory management plan for the fishery;
  • compulsory logbooks; and
  • commitment to further monitoring surveys and assessment of target species.

The following recommendations have been made to further strengthen the effectiveness of the management arrangements for the fishery and to minimise environmental risks in the medium to longer term. DPIWE should action these recommendations before the next review in 2010.

Recommendation 1: DPIWE to advise the Department of the Environment and Heritage of any material change to the CDF management arrangements that could affect the criteria on which Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 decisions are based, within three months of that change being made.

Recommendation 2: DPIWE to monitor the status of the target species in relation to performance indicators. Within 3 months of becoming aware of one or more of the performance indicators being triggered, DPIWE to develop a clear timetable for the implementation of appropriate management responses.

Recommendation 3: DPIWE, within 18 months, to establish and implement an appropriate formal consultative mechanism for the CDF and consider, where appropriate, any relevant community, conservation, indigenous and recreational interests.

Recommendation 4: DPIWE to develop and implement mechanisms to validate commercial catch and effort data in the fishery within 12 months.

Recommendation 5: Within 18 months, DPIWE to develop a process to improve estimates of take from all sectors and factor these into management arrangements.

Recommendation 6: DPIWE to develop and implement targeted research and management strategies to address key gaps in the knowledge of sea urchin and periwinkle biology and ecology.