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Fisheries Act - Western Australian Fisheries Joint Authority - Report - 1992


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1. INTRODUCTION

This is the fifth report o f the Western Australian Fisheries Joint Authority.

The Joint Authority was established under provisions o f the Commonwealth Fisheries

Act 1952 (the Commonwealth Act) and the Western Australian Fisheries Act 1905 (the State Act).

The Joint Authority has been responsible since 14 April 1988 for the management of

the Demersal Gillnet Fishery and the Demersal Longline Fishery in waters south of

latitude 33° south in accordance with the laws of Western Australia (Appendix 1).

Since 20 March 1991 the Joint Authority became potentially responsible for the Pearl

Oyster Fishery for molluscs o f the genus Pinctada (commonly known as pearl oysters),

except Pinctada albina albina, in all the waters adjacent to Western Australia. These

are managed in accordance with the laws o f Western Australia (Appendix 2).

However, in order for the Joint Authority to become responsible for a particular

species under the Pearling Act it must be so declared. Only Pinctada maxima is

currently declared as a species subject to the Pearling Act 1990.

This report covers the activities o f the Joint Authority in managing those fisheries from

1 January 1992 to 31 December 1992.

The contact officer for enquires about this report is Mr Peter Millington, Director of

Fisheries Management Policy, Fisheries Department o f Western Australia, 108

Adelaide Terrace, East Perth WA 6004.

2. MEMBERSHIP OF THE JOINT AUTHORITY

The members o f the Joint Authority for the reporting period were:-

Hon Simon Crean, MP Chairman

Minister for Primary Industries and Energy

Hon Gordon Hill, JP, MLA

Western Australian Minister for Fisheries

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Supplementary licence units and units which had previously been subjected to a

50% reduction on transfer were not reduced.

Time/gear units that had previously been transferred under the 50% reduction

on transfer rule were exempted or quarantined from the across the board

reduction. This resulted in an increase o f time/gear units in the fishery. There

were also four supplementary licenses cancelled on transfer due to inactivity.

As at 31 December 1992 the balance o f time/gear units in the fishery, including

the two South Australian boats, as result of the above changes was 2,598-5.

(e) CONDITION OF THE FISHERY

The major indicator of the condition o f the Limited Entry Demersal Gillnet and

Longline Fishery is provided by an analysis o f the data on statutory catch

returns, in addition to catch and effort data from the voluntary logbook

program, combined with a modelling study of the shark populations

The data indicate that the whiskery sharks are over-exploited and that effort

reduction on this species should be introduced. The data also show that it

would be prudent to have effort reduction on the gummy shark stocks.

The situation with regard to the bronze whaler sharks is less clear than for the

whiskery and gummy sharks. Almost all of the bronze whaler sharks taken in

the Western Australian fishery are immature and the abundance of juveniles

appears to have fallen to about 25 per cent of that prior to the commencement

o f fishing.

In summary, the shark stocks being fished in the Limited Entry Demersal

Gillnet and Longline Fishery are either over-exploited or are being heavily

exploited. Management measures continue to be required to prevent further

increases in fishing effort and to reduce fishing effort in the longer term.

(f) RESEARCH

Research on shark is carried out by staff from the Bernard Bowen Fisheries

Research Institute within the Western Australian Marine Research

Laboratories. The research is being concentrated on the further development

o f scientific models, analysis of the fishery catch and effort data, and

improvement o f the quality o f the data collected from the logbook program for

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Three zones have been defined for the take of pearl oysters. These are:

All those waters lying east o f longitude 114° 10' east (North West Cape), west

o f longitude 119° east (De Grey River) and north o f latitude 22°30'33" south

(Southern end o f Exmouth Gulf).

All those waters lying east o f longitude 118° 10' east (Cape Thouin), south of

latitude 18°14' south (Sandy Point south of Broome) and north of latitude

20°23' south (Cape Thouin).

All those waters lying north o f latitude 18° 14' south (Sandy Point south of

Broome) and west of longitude 125°20' east (Port Nelson).

Kimberley Development Zone

All those waters north and east o f Zone 3 waters, and extending east to the

border between Western Australia and the Northern Territory, however, pearl

oysters are not taken regularly from this zone.

It should also be noted that there are overlap waters (the Buffer Zone) between

longitudes 118° 10' east and 119° east which are common to both Zones 1 and

2 .

Of thirteen companies holding pearling licences, the highest quota is for

100 000 pearl oysters and the lowest quota is for 15 000. The total allowable

take o f pearl oysters in 1992 was:

Zone 1

Zone 2

Zone 3

Zone 1

Zone 2

Zone 3

55 000

390 000

67 000

TOTAL 512 000

These figures include two special approvals given in 1991. Two companies

with a quota o f 10 000 were each allowed to take a further 5 000 pearl oysters

from the waters o f Zone 1 between 117° east and 119° east longitude.

In addition, in 1992 one company having quota in Zones 2/3 and 3 was granted

approval to take an additional 10 000 in Zones 2/3, and 10 000 less in Zone 3.

The Zone 3 allocation continues to include an annual quota o f 2 000 granted to

one o f the companies to support a tourist enterprise near Broome.

The legal minimum size for a pearl oyster is 120 mm overall length. This is

about the minimum size required by the pearling industry for the culture of

pearls. The minimum size requirement is mostly for the regulation o f the

industry rather than of importance for stock management. The minimum size

for pearl oysters taken from the waters o f Exmouth Gulf during 1992 was

reduced to 80mm.

CONDITION OF THE FISHERY

The condition of the fishery is largely determined by an examination of the

catch rates, however, research continues to obtain better estimates o f the size

o f the stock and levels o f recruitment on an annual basis.

Pearl oysters are taken by divers operating from vessels which supply air to the

divers through air lines (hookah gear). The vessels move slowly across the

beds of pearl oysters. During the 1970s and to the mid 1980s pearl oysters

were taken for both pearl culture and MOP, the larger ones being sold as MOP.

The practice o f taking MOP was phased out during the 1980s and not allowed

from 1987.

The state o f the stock is largely determined by the number of pearl oysters

taken per diver-hour. During the last ten years pearl oysters suitable for pearl

culture have been collected by divers from the seabed at an average rate of 22

pearl oysters per diver-hour. This rate has varied between 19 and 28, but no

trend in catch rate is apparent.

The pearl oysters preferred for pearl culture are from the legal minimum size of

120 mm to about 160 mm. Within this size range most animals have matured

sexually as males, but the sex change to females only commences in the upper

sizes of this range. The current number of pearl oysters allowed to be taken is

believed to provide for ample movement of juvenile pearl oysters into the

breeding stock. In addition, there are pearl oysters in the deeper waters which

16

Signed for and on behalf of

the State of Western Australia

by the Honourable JULIAN

FLETCHER GRILL, Minister for

Fisheries, in the presence of

P Middleton )

JULIAN GRILL

I, THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL of the Commonwealth of Australia, acting with the advice

o f the Federal Executive Council, in pursuance o f Sub-section 12J(1) o f the Fisheries Act

1952 hereby approve this instrument.

Dated 13 April 1988.

N M STEPHEN

Governor-General

By His Excellency's Command

JOHN KERIN

Minister o f State for Primary Industries and Energy

I, THE GOVERNOR o f the State of Western Australia in Executive Council, acting under the

provisions of the Fisheries Act 1905, hereby approve this instrument.

Given under my hand this 1st day of March 1988.

GORDON REED

Governor

By His Excellency's Command

JULIAN GRILL

Minister for Fisheries

17

ARRANGEMENT BETWEEN THE COMMONWEALTH AND THE STATE OF

WESTERN AUSTRALIA IN RELATION TO THE JOINT AUTHORITY LINE FISHERY

IN WATERS SOUTH OF LATITUDE 33° SOUTH

AN ARRANGEMENT entered into between the Commonwealth of Australia of the one part

("the Commonwealth") and the State o f Western Australia ("the State") o f the other part.

WHEREAS:

(a) Sub-section 12H(1) o f the Fisheries Act 1952 o f the Parliament o f the Commonwealth

("the Act") provides that the Commonwealth may make an arrangement with the State

or States that is or are represented on a Joint Authority that the Joint Authority is to

have the management of a particular fishery in waters adjacent to that State or those

States or any of those States;

(b) Sub-section 12H(2) o f the Act provides that an arrangement under Sub-section 12H(1)

of the Act with only one State shall provide that the fishery is to be managed either in

accordance with the law of the Commonwealth or in accordance with the law of that

State;

(c) Section 12D of the Act established the Western Australian Fisheries Joint Authority

consisting o f the Commonwealth Minister and the Western Australian Minister as

those expressions are defined in Section 12A;

(d) Under Sub-section 12J(1) o f the Act an Arrangement under, inter alia, Sub-section

12H(1) shall be made by an instrument in writing approved by the Governor-General

and the Governor or Governors of the State or States concerned;

(e) Sub-section 8H(1) o f the Fisheries Act 1905 o f the Parliament o f the State o f Western

Australia ("the State Act") empowers the State, in accordance with Section 12J of the

Act, to make an arrangement referred to in Section 12H o f the Act for the

management of a particular fishery; and

(f) Both the Commonwealth and the State are desirous of exercising their powers to

conclude an Arrangement in relation to the fishery.

NOW THEREFORE, in pursuance o f the Act and the State Act and o f all other powers so

enabling, it is mutually arranged as follows:-

1. The fishery to which this arrangement applies is the fishery with the use o f lines of all

kinds, except pelagic long-lines used in connection with the tuna fishery in accordance

21

1. The fishery to which this arrangement applies is the fishery for molluscs o f the genus

Pinctada (commonly known as pearl oysters) other than the species Pinctada albino

albina, in the waters adjacent to the State.

2. The fishery is to be managed by the Western Australian Fisheries Joint Authority in

accordance with the law o f Western Australia.

3. This Arrangement shall, upon being executed on behalf o f the Commonwealth and of

the State and upon being approved by the Governor-General of the Commonwealth

and the Government o f the State, take effect in accordance with both the Act and the

State Act.

Dated the tenth day of December 1990.

Signed for and on behalf )

of the Commonwealth of )

Australia by the Honourable )

JOHN CHARLES KERIN, )

Minister for Primary Industries )

and Energy, in the presence of )

G A Gregory )

Signed for and on behalf )

o f the State o f Western Australia )

by the Honourable )

GORDON LESLEY HILL, )

Minister for Fisheries, )

in the presence o f )

W Shepherd )

JOHN KERIN

GORDON HILL

I, THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL o f the Commonwealth o f Australia, acting with the advice

o f the Federal Executive Council, in pursuance o f sub-section 12J(1) o f the Fisheries Act

1952, hereby approve this instrument.

Dated 13 February 1991.

BILL HAYDEN

Governor-General

22

By His Excellency's Command

J KERIN

Minister of State for Primary Industries and Energy

I, THE GOVERNOR o f the State o f Western Australia in Executive Council, acting under the

provisions of the Fisheries Act 1905, hereby approve this instrument.

Given under my hand this eighth day o f January 1991.

FRANCIS BURT

Governor

By His Excellency's Command

GORDON HILL

Minister for Fisheries

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MEMBERSHIP OF THE WESTERN AUSTRALIAN

PEARLING INDUSTRY ADVISORY COMMITTEE

FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 DECEMBER 1992

APPENDIX 4

Mr B. K. Bowen, AM Chairman

Mr B. R. Brown Member

Mr N. J. Crane Member

Mr G. C. Gorrie m Member

Mr R. Stevens *2 Member

Mr D. Jackson Member

Mr G Kailis Member

Mr J. Kelly Member

Mr B. Kinney Member

Mr R. McLean Member

Mr R. P. Morgan «3 Member

Mr N. Paspaley Member

Mr P. P. Rogers Member

*1 To 10 August 1992

•2 From 10 August 1992

*3 Resigned 14 August 1992

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FIGURE 1

SOUTHERN DEMERSAL GILLNET AND DEMERSAL LONGLINE LIMITED ENTRY FISHERY