Public comment on: Upper-Slope Dogfish Management Strategy review

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is reviewing the Upper-Slope Dogfish Management Strategy (the Strategy) and seeking your comments to inform this review.

Submissions can be made online via AFMA’s external public comment website and will close on 18 January 2021. Any changes made to the Strategy as a result of this review are expected to come into effect at the start of the next fishing season, 1 May 2021.

Review documents:

  1. Upper-Slope Dogfish Management Strategy
  2. Summary of specific aspects of the Strategy being considered as part of the review, including fishing industry proposals, scientific advice and AFMA’s draft position in response
  3. Draft research plan for to support the Strategy

Background to the review

The Strategy’s objectives are consistent with the Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy and Guidelines, in particular the obligations to rebuild overfished stocks. Specifically the objectives promote the recovery of Harrisson’s dogfish (Centrophorus harrissoni) and southern dogfish (C. zeehaani) while also helping mitigate the impact of fishing on Endeavour dogfish (C. moluccensis) and greeneye spurdog (Squalus chloroculus). The Strategy is designed to rebuild the populations of Harrisson’s dogfish and southern dogfish above a limit reference point (BLIM) of B25 (25% of unfished biomass).

The Strategy supports the conservation dependent status of Harrisson’s and southern dogfish under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Harrisson’s and southern dogfish were eligible for listing in the category of conservation dependent in 2013 because they are the focus of a plan of management, the Strategy, that provides actions to stop the decline and support the recovery of these species. Had the Strategy not been in place, or included measures to support the recovery of these species, then both species could have been listed in a higher conservation category.

The Strategy was developed over a number of years by AFMA, in consultation with the fishing industry, scientific experts, conservation groups and other stakeholders, with most actions implemented by 2012. AFMA initially intended to review the Strategy in 2017 however this was delayed to allow the completion of the research project ‘Research to support the upper slope dogfish management strategy: options for monitoring the recovery of southern dogfish and Harrisson’s dogfish’ and the outcomes could be considered.

The above project has been finalised, and identified a preferred option for the survey design to support the long term monitoring of these species and assess the performance of the Strategy. The next step is to execute that survey via a second research project ‘Research to support the Upper Slope Dogfish Management Strategy’. Completion of this survey, the first of what will be a series through time, is the highest priority for AFMA in relation to the Strategy and forms the current priority in the Draft Upper Slope Dogfish Strategy Research and Monitoring Plan 2020-2025.

To inform the review, AFMA has sought scientific advice on a number of proposals from the fishing industry to refine the Strategy, and broader aspects of the Strategy. A summary of this information and AFMA’s draft position in response is outlined in Summary of specific aspects of the Strategy being considered as part of the review, including fishing industry proposals, scientific advice and AFMA’s draft position in response.

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