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Thursday, 21 June 2007
Page: 257


Senator Siewert asked the Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, upon notice, on 26 March 2007:

(1) (a)   Can the Minister provide, for each of the 11 zones across the four sectors of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF), the following figures for the orange roughy: (i) target quota, (ii) bycatch quota, and (iii) trigger limit; and (b) for each of the above categories, will the Minister identify: (i) where each of the quotas and/or trigger limits are published, and (ii) how the quantities were determined.

(2)   Is it the case that the East Coast Deepwater trawl sector has been identified as having an orange roughy trigger limit in the Orange Roughy Conservation Programme, published by the Australian Fisheries Management Association (AFMA) on 7 December 2006; if so, why does the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (non-quota species) Total Allowable Catch (2007 Fishing Year) Determination (cited as 2007 SESSF D2), made under section 15 of the SESSF Management Plan 2003, allocate a 50 tonne bycatch quota.

(3)   Can the Minister explain whether the Orange Roughy Conservation Plan Workshop to be hosted by the AFMA in Melbourne on 12 April 2007 is open to participants other than orange roughy quota holders; if not, why not.


Senator Abetz (Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation) —The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:

(1) (a)   Bycatch Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and Trigger Limits in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF) Orange Roughy Zones

Zone

Orange Roughy Zone

2007 TAC (tonnes) *1

2007 Trigger Limit *3

1

North-Eastern Remote Zone

No quota SFRs granted for this zone *2

No trigger limit *2

2

Eastern Zone

27

N/A

3

Cascade Plateau Zone

483

N/A

4,5,6

Southern Zone (incorporates all catches taken in Southern Remote Zone, part of the South Tasman Rise Zone within the Australian EEZ and the Southern Remote Zone) (3 Zones)

40

N/A

7

Western Zone

61

N/A

8,9

Great Australian Bight Albany and Esperance Zone

(2 Zones)

50

N/A

10

Great Australian Bight Eastern Zone

No quota SFRs granted for this zone *2

10t

11

Great Australian Bight Other Zones

No quota SFRs granted for this zone *2

10t

*1 With the exception of the Cascade plateau zone, the TACs above are not target quotas but bycatch quotas, to allow for the landing of any incidental or inadvertent catches taken when fishing for other fish species. Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), for administrative purposes, are changing from a 1 January to a 1 May quota year. As a consequence all the TACs in the table above have been adjusted for a 16 month fishing season. This results in the Cascade Roughy TAC allocated to SFR-holders being 483 tonnes instead of 400 tonnes.

*2 AFMA has implemented a general prohibition to the method of trawling in waters below 700m (750m in the Great Australian Bight) in order to prevent future targeting and limit the incidental catches of orange roughy in these zones (and elsewhere in the SESSF)

*3 In some fisheries there are trigger limits, but in the case of some species in the SESSF, there are no trigger limits because a competitive TAC has been set. Once the TAC is reached, all fishers in the fishery must cease landing that particular species.

(1) (b)   (i) The quotas and trigger limits are published in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery: A guide to the 2007 Management Arrangements on the AFMA website. As the determinations of quotas are legislative instruments for the purposes of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 they must be registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments (FRLI) before they can come into effect.         The quotas for all SESSF quota species are determined by the AFMA, under the SESSF Management Plan by 5 December each year. Such determinations are made under subsection 11 of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery Management Plan 2003 and subsection 17(6)(aa) of the Fisheries Management Act 1991.         Trigger limits for the SESSF will be recommended to the Management Advisory Committee for the SESSF by the Resource Advisory Group (RAG) at their next meeting. The RAG consists of scientists and economists from AFMA, the Bureau of Rural Sciences, the Department of Environment and Water Resources, and industry representatives. The RAG makes recommendations based on what they consider would be suitable biological catch rates for the species, knowledge of biology of the species and current stock status.

(2)   Yes, the East Coast Deepwater trawl sector has been identified as having an orange roughy trigger limit in the Orange Roughy Conservation Programme. The 50 tonne limit is not a target limit but a bycatch limit, to allow for the landing of any incidental or inadvertent catches of that species by fishers fishing for other species.

(3)   The Orange Roughy Conservation Plan Workshop was open to any interested parties who registered to attend. The workshop was technical in nature and was attended by industry members, and representatives from the World Wide Fund for Nature, the Australian Government Bureau of Rural Sciences, Commonwealth Fisheries Association, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Great Australian Bight Fishery Industry Association, South East Trawl Fishery Industry Association, AFMA and members of fisheries Management Advisory Committees and Resource Assessment Groups.