This National Threatened Species Day, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is highlighting the efforts of the Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF) commercial fishing industry to protect sea turtles and other larger animals such as sharks and rays, from being caught in the fishing gear.
Nearly all species of sea turtle are protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
AFMA’s CEO, Mr Wez Norris, said it is the joint responsibility of AFMA and industry to be innovative about minimising impacts with these animals when fishing.
“AFMA introduced turtle excluder devices (TEDs) to the NPF almost 20 years ago in 2000 and they remain highly effective today, with around 95 per cent of turtles exiting fishing nets through the TEDs,” Mr Norris said.
“TEDs are a metal grid fitted on an angle within fishing nets to allow turtles and other marine life like rays and sharks that may swim into fishing nets to safely escape.
“All fishing vessels in the NPF must use TEDs when fishing nets are deployed. AFMA conducts regular inspections to check operators have fitted their TEDs correctly to maximise safe escapement of the animals.
“Having measures in place to reduce the impact of fishing on the whole marine environment is an important part of AFMA’s fisheries management and we continue to work with a diversity of stakeholders to protect threatened species.”
National Threatened Species Day is held annually on 7 September to commemorate the death of the last remaining Tasmanian tiger at Hobart Zoo in 1936 and raise awareness for plant and animal species at risk of extinction.