The following strategies and other government response measures for reducing the pressures of fishing have recently been introduced.
Turtle Bycatch listing as a Key Threatening Process and use of TEDs
The listing of marine turtle bycatch from trawling as a key threatening process under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC) Act has resulted in the introduction of Turtle Exclusion Device (TED) technology in Australian prawn fisheries. The apparent effectiveness of this measure is demonstrated by the time series bycatch data (see: CO 21 - Non-target effects: Number and/or weight taken as bycatch, and change since introduction of exclusion devices ). Few fisheries provide bycatch data in a comparable and consistent manner, and an apparent steady increase in bycatch in most fisheries may be attributable to improved reporting rather than increasing bycatch. However, the dramatic reduction in turtle bycatch by the northern prawn fishery has occurred specifically since introduction of the TEDs.
Source: Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage 2003, Recovery Plan for Marine Turtles in Australia.
Source: Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry 2002, Monitoring the catch of turtles in the Northern Prawn Fishery.
Further information on efforts to reduce turtle bycatch can be found in these source documents.
- Recovery plan for marine turtles in Australia (Word - 45 KB)
- Monitoring the catch of turtles in the Northern Prawn Fishery (PDF - 1170 KB)
Listing of marine debris as a key threatening process
See: Societal responses: Responses to shipping pressures
Protecting our fishing future
Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999, AFMA must seek accreditation from the Minister for the Australian Government Environment and Heritage regarding the ecological sustainability of a fishery in order for its product to be exported. ‘Ecological Risk Assessments’ (ERA’s) identify the risks that fishing poses to the ecological sustainability of the marine environment and help prioritise management needs. ERA’s will be completed for all Commonwealth fisheries during 2006. Many of our future fisheries management decisions will be based on the outcomes of the ERA process.
On 14 December 2005, the Federal Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation issued a formal direction to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) to take decisive action to ensure the sustainability of our fish stocks and to secure the Australian fishing industry’s future. The direction was issued as part of the Australian Government’s $220M Securing our Fishing Future Initiative, announced in November 2005. The direction states that: “The Australian Government considers that decisive action is needed immediately to halt overfishing and to create the conditions that will give overfished stocks a chance to recover to an acceptable level in the near future”.
A new Harvest Strategy Framework will be applied to all Commonwealth managed fisheries by 2008. The framework sets the ‘goalposts’ for managing catches by setting agreed target and limit reference points and clear decision rules for each species. The framework has been used for some time in Australia’s sub-Antarctic fisheries and was most recently used to establish Total Allowable Catches in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery.
Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery
In November 2002 AFMA submitted an Assessment Report and Management Plan for the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery to the Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), for strategic assessment of the fishery under the EPBC Act. A major outcome of this assessment was the identification of a number of issues that needed to be addressed to control medium-term environmental risks. AFMA agreed to implement 18 recommendations by the Minister and to provide DEH with sufficient information to allow assessment of AFMA’s progress in implementing those recommendations.
In September 2006, AFMA submitted to DEH a proposal for the re-accreditation of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF) as a Wildlife Trade Operation (WTO). The outcome of this submission is yet to be decided.
Source: AFMA 2005, Future Operating Environment for Commonwealth Fisheries.
- Future Operating Environment for Commonwealth Fisheries (PDF - 76 KB)
- Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery Wildlife Trade Operation Re-assessment 2006 (PDF - 1180 KB)
Considerable effort has been made to develop strategies aimed at reducing some of the better understood pressures of fishing on the marine environment. The outcome for the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF) as a Wildlife Trade Operation (WTO) will provide a useful example for other fisheries.
Data before and after the introduction of a national measure intended to address an identified problem can be useful in showing the extent to which the problem has receded following introduction of the measure. However, since such measures often also introduce an unprecedented level of monitoring, data can be misleading, showing an apparent increase in the pressure when, in fact, all they are really showing is improved reporting.
Coasts and Oceans - Societal responses to direct pressures of human activities on coasts and oceans - Societal responses to direct pressures of human activities on the coasts and oceans: Responses to pressures of fishing
National responses take a long time to translate into changes of condition. Although they can translate into changes in both the occurrence and intensity of the pressures in a much shorter time, monitoring prior to their introduction might not have been adequate for any change to show in the data. As response indicators, the fact of introduction of a national plan and strategy provides a date from which change in the pressure and the condition can be monitored.
Other indicators for this issue:
- CO-37 Proportion of recreational fishers subject to restriction (eg size or bag limits)
- CO-57 Changes in area of marine environment subject to prohibition or management of recreational fishing
Links to another web site
Links to data in the DRS
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