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A sustainable future for the highly-prized Patagonian toothfish.

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Media Releases : DAFF06/007A Last updated: 4 March 2006

A sustainable future for the highly-prized Patagonian toothfish

DAFF06/007A 4 March 2006

A new management plan has set in place measures to ensure the sustainable harvest of Patagonian toothfish in Australia's Macquarie Island Toothfish Fishery.

The Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation, Senator Eric Abetz, today announced that he had accepted the management plan for the fishery as determined by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority.

"This plan, combined with Australia's efforts to stamp out illegal foreign fishing in our southern waters, clearly highlights the Australian Government's commitment to protecting this valuable resource," the Minister said.

"The management plan adopts stringent fishery management measures, including setting sustainable catch levels and the use of strict environmental protection measures. Operators are also required to carry two independent observers to monitor fishing operations, and collect data on target and non-target species."

In a first for Australian fisheries half the available statutory fishing rights will be sold by a competitive tender process. Statutory fishing rights give fishers greater security than the current annually renewable permits by providing a guaranteed access right for the life of the management plan.

The fishery is divided into two sectors; for 2005/2006, the total allowable catch of Patagonian toothfish is set at 380 tonnes across both sectors.

Macquarie Island is located approximately 1,500 kilometres south-east of Hobart. The fishery is managed in a compatible manner to Australia's other sub-Antarctic fishery around Heard and McDonald Islands.

Further inquiries:

Senator Abetz’s office: Brad Stansfield 0419 884 666

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