New co-management arrangement and industry advisory group for Commonwealth Trawl Sector

Media release from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association

Cooperation with industry continues to be the key in innovative fisheries management, with the making of a new co-management arrangement between the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) and the South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association (SETFIA).

This includes a new Seine and Trawl Advisory Group (STAG) to provide expert advice on operational aspects of the Commonwealth Trawl Sector (CTS) to better inform fisheries management decisions made by AFMA and the AFMA Commission. The advisory group will meet twice yearly and its members will include trawl operators from across the CTS, a hook operator, and representation from AFMA.

The CEO of AFMA, Mr Wez Norris, said that the co-management arrangement is another example of AFMA and industry working together for more efficient management of Commonwealth fisheries.

“This new agreement will formalise ongoing arrangements for the efficient management of eastern pink ling catches through voluntary catch restrictions, as well as funding for a project to develop prototype seal mitigation technology for commercial trawl vessels,” Mr Norris said.

“AFMA is always looking for ways to improve sustainability and minimise interactions with protected species in Commonwealth fisheries, so developing an effective seal mitigation device for trawl vessels is an important investment.

“Enhanced industry stewardship of fisheries resources helps AFMA deliver effective and efficient fisheries management in a sustainable manner.”

SETFIA’s executive officer, Simon Boag, said the trawl fishing industry has a strong history of working with AFMA over a long period of time.

“This includes the introduction of devices that have reduced interactions with protected seabirds by 90 per cent, voluntary agreements to limit catch of some species, voluntary ground closures and improved reporting,” Mr Boag said.

“The STAG is the next step in the evolution of decision making in a fishery that is Australia’s main source of local fresh fish.”

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