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Interim management for southern shark gillnet fishery

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P185/302 30 December 1985


The Acting Director of the Australian Fisheries

Service, Mr Bruce Lilburn, today announced details of the

conditions to be met for access to the southern shark

gillnet fishery under interim management arrangements to

apply from February 1986.

Mr Lilburn referred to the previous announcement on

29 November 1985 by the Minister for Primary Industry,

Mr John Kerin, that the fishery would be subject to limited

entry arrangements from 1 February 1986. Mr Kerin said

interim endorsements would only be issued to fishermen who

had caught shark using gillnets and held Commonwealth

licences between 26 September 1981 and the date of the first

warning against increased investment, 25 September 1984.

However, the proposed criteria for access to the

fishery, which were set out in an attachment to the

Minister's media release, have since been reviewed by the

Southern Shark Fishery Task Force, Mr Lilburn said. As a

result, the criteria have been amended as set out in the

Attachment to this statement.

All boats would be subject to the basic criterion

of having been used to take shark with nets in Commonwealth

waters during the qualifying period.


Mr Lilburn said application forms for .those seeking

access under the interim arrangements would be available

from Commonwealth and State fisheries authorities before the

end of this year.

These interim management arrangements were being

implemented because an increasing number of fishermen had

ignored earlier warnings not to enter the fishery.

Scientists have warned that the stocks of shark are at risk

from heavy fishing pressure, and these controls would limit

the number of fishermen permitted to operate in the southern

shark fishery.

Controls on entry to the fishery would apply

initially to waters off Victoria, South Australia and


Mr Lilburn pointed out that the Task Force was

considering a range of measures to protect the shark stocks

from over-exploitation and to promote long-term viability of

the industry. It is likely that these measures would

include controls on the number of nets fishermen would be

permitted to use, based on commitment to the fishery prior

to 25 September 1984. In addition, the Task Force was

considering controls on longline fishing for shark also

based on commitment prior to 25 September 1984.

Mr Lilburn said fishermen should note that they

would need to re-apply for entry to the fishery when the

long-term Management Plan was finalised. The controls which

would apply from February 1986 were interim arrangements and

only a first step in the implementation of a management plan

Proposals for longer-term management of the fishery

would be circulated early in 1986 for comment prior to

submission to Commonwealth and State Ministers.

Further information: Southern Shark Fishery Task

Force Secretary, Mr Peter Ottesen (062) 725511.


The holders of Commonwealth boat licences may apply for endorsement of their licence to allow a boat to be used for gillnetting of shark in Commonwealth waters off Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, provided the following conditions are met:- .

(i) The boat to which the Commonwealth boat licence applies has been used to take shark using shark nets (*) during the three years ending 25 September 1984.

(ii) An endorsement may be issued for a boat which is a

replacement for a boat which satisfies (i) above provided the replacement occurred before 29 March 1985. (**)

(iii) At the time the shark was taken, a Commonwealth boat licence was in force for the boat which satisfies (i) or (ii) above.

(iv) The boats which satisfy the previous conditions and either commenced fishing for shark after 25 September 1983 or landed shark during only one of the years in the three year period up to

25 September 1984, will be required to demonstrate a continuing committment to, and dependence on the fishery. "

(v) If on or after 29 March 1985 a boat which satisfies

the above conditions was sold, or otherwise disposed of, the boat will be deemed to have been replaced and to have left the fishery, and only the

replacement boat will be eligible for an endorsement (unless prior arrangements were made for the replaced boat to remain in the fishery).

(vi) The shark endorsement will only be granted if endorsements to other limited entry fisheries to which the boat was eligible on 29 March 1985 are all currently retained on that boat or its

authorised replacement.

* For this purpose shark nets or gillnets are defined as monofilament mesh nets with a minimum mesh size of 15cm.

**For this purpose boat replacement will be considered to have occurred at the time the replacement boat is licensed under the Fisheries Act 1952 in the name of the applicant.

Catches recorded in State catch returns will be the primary evidence of having taken shark, and these returns must have been submitted to State authorities before 30 October 1984. Those fishermen who have not submitted catch returns but claim to have met the entry criteria, will be required to provide acceptable documentary evidence of their participation in the fishery.

Application forms will be available from Commonwealth and State fisheries authorities in the near future.