Threatened, endangered and protected (TEP) species
Demonstrated industry awareness of TEP species as a key priority builds community trust and confidence in the Australian Seafood Industry
Most human activity has the potential to unintentionally harm biodiversity. The potential for fishing activities to impact on Threatened, Endangered and Protected (TEP) marine species is an issue that influences community perceptions of the seafood industry, and has recently been brought back into the spotlight with the arrival of the Geelong Star in the Commonwealth's small pelagic fishery.
Professional fishers in Australia work according to the statutory obligations of the relevant state or Commonwealth based fisheries management agency. In addition to fisheries management legislation and regulations, the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Australia’s central piece of environmental legislation) was developed to protect and manage matters of national environmental significance. For example, the EPBC Act lists species that are threatened nationally such as sea turtles, seabirds, dolphins, whales and seals. Recovery of listed species is promoted through the EPBC Act using recovery plans, conservation advice and State or Territory specific legislation to address threats.
The EPBC Act states that ‘a person must not take an action that has, will or is likely to have a significant impact on a listed TEP species’. The Act also states that it is not an offence to kill a protected species as a result of an unavoidable accident, unless that accident is caused by negligent or reckless behaviour.
OceanWatch Australia has a long history of proactively working with professional fishers and state and Commonwealth fisheries agencies to develop and extend improvements in TEP and bycatch strategies to minimise harm to non target species.
Some examples of our work include extension of turtle exclusion devices on trawl gear, extending seabird deterrents and dehookers for long line fishers, trialling acoustic devices to keep marine mammals away from set fishing gear, and the development and extension of codes of practice and environmental management systems. More information can be found at www.oceanwatch.org.au.
A component of the current OceanWatch Master Fisherman training and assessment workshops focuses on the importance of timely and accurate TEP reporting, and best practice handling techniques to minimise harm detailed in OceanWatch's Protected Species Handling Manual (scan the QR code below)
A novel initiative is the current Australian Fisheries Management Authority, South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association and the Australian Maritime College competition to develop strategies to minimise fur seal interactionswith trawl fishing activities.
While minimising impact on TEP species is important to ensure our marine environment is healthy and productive, it also demonstrates to the community the commitment of Australia’s professional fishers to ensure responsible and sustainable fishing.
This month the NSW oyster industry convened two industry field days - one in the north at Old Bar, and one in the south at Merimbula. Having recently developed a new strategic development plan, the field days provided the opportunity for oyster farmers to get together and discuss issues an future opportunities. Marketing and production were top of the agenda. Oceanwatch was there to present a talk on 'social licence' and it was great to catch up with so many oyster farmers and support.
Sydney Institute of Marine Science Public Lecture - Green Engineering
Oceanwatch Australia attended the SIMS Green Engineering public lecture on 28th of May, to learn more about innovative strategies that are being implemented to actively redress the loss of marine ecosystems and ecosystem function. These include green engineering and habitat restoration projects, presented by leading scientists from SIMS and UNSW - Professor Peter Steinberg, Dr. Katherine Dafforn and Dr Ziggy Marzinelli. These lectures provide important information that links in with the current Oceanwatch and Greater Sydney Local Land Services oyster reef restoration project.
OceanWatch Master Fisherman Training Continuation
Professional fishers endorsed in the New South Wales Estuary General Fishery from the Batemans Bay area have proactively approached OceanWatch to participate in the OceanWatch Master Fisherman training. Our training incorporates sustainable and responsible fishing practices, and assesses each individual fisher through written and practical assessments. Successful participants are recognised as OceanWatch Master Fishermen. Participants receive additional recognition through the NSW Fishing Industry Training Committee.
This initiative assists professional fishers to demonstrate commitment to responsible and sustainable fishing practices, backed by training and assessment. Training includes: TEP species mitigation, by catch reduction devices and techniques, catch reporting, water quality and pollution, ecosystem services of fisheries habitat and more. Resource materials additionally incorporate the industry wide Code of Practice. Training also improves fishers' awareness of animal welfare, indigenous fishing and workplace health and safety. A further training session is being proposed for those working in the Estuary General Fishery from the Tweed and Clarence River areas. To learn more about what it means to be an OceanWatch Master Fisherman, check out the OceanWatch Master Fisherman webpage www.masterfishermen.oceanwatch.org.au under the 'Consumers' tab.
Find the latest report on OceanWatch's Master Fisherman project at the FRDC website here: FRDC final reports
In the news
Fish Fact Friday 23/4/15
From our friends at the MSC in Australia reveals thebioluminescent Firefly Squid grows to only 3 inches, and is equipped with photophores. Photophores are special light-producing organs that emit a deep blue light. Between March and June in Japan, these squid gather to spawn, creating this magical light show!
A shark conservationist says the Queensland Government’s current shark control program could be drastically improved.
Sea Shepherd's Nicole McLachlan said 11 beaches on the Gold Coast currently have gill nets and drum lines as shark nets. The nets entangle non target species such as whales and turtles. A much more eco friendly method would be to use 'eco-shark barriers' currently on trial in WA or a shark spotters program the favourite of surfers.
The Bremer Canyon, 60 km off the WA coastline, a relatively new discovery and an ecological hotspot is worthy of marine sanctuary status say conservationists. With a national marine parks review underway they are lobbying the government to have the nearby Bremer Marine sanctuary extended to cover the canyon. The area is at risk from oil and gas exploration say marine conservationists.
For two months of the year the canyon area becomes a hunting ground for the ocean's top predators and a draw card for tourists. Orcas, giant squid, sharks, whales and predatory large fish can be seen in the one spot. It's thought to be due to a hydrocarbon pocket under the seabed, but scientists have had little opportunity to explore the area as yet.
Seismic shift for blue whales Australia’s largest animals, blue whales, are said to be at risk from “ship of deaf” run by the oil and gas industry
Plastic pollution no trivial matter Supported by Surfrider Foundation Australia and the Australian Marine Debris Initiative, the trivia night was a way of imparting important information about the growing problem of plastics in our oceans while at the same time having some fun at a trivia night
Dolphin deaths defended The Federal Government is standing by the operator of the factory trawler Geelong Star, despite growing community anger at the deaths of another four dolphins and two seals late last week.
Supermarkets most popular seafood shopping spot After chicken and beef, fish/sefood is the 3rd most commonly eaten meat in Australia, consumed by 57% of the population and purchased by 24% of Australian grocery-buyers in an average 7 days.
Guide to developing new seabird mitigation devices The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has released a new ‘Guide to developing new seabird mitigation devices in trawl fisheries’, which aims to make it easier for trawl operators to trial new seabird mitigation devices to reduce seabird interactions and improve operational efficiencies and crew safety.
Estuaries to be explored The Solitary Islands Underwater Research Group (SURG) is looking forward to exploring the inner workings of local estuaries after securing research funding
Scientists swoop on flood impact Scientists from NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) are examining the impact of the recent flood waters that continue to transport tonnes of sediment and debris out into coastal water from the Hunter River.
Botany Bay oil spill investigation slammed The President of the South Sydney Amateur Fishing Association, Stan Konstantaras, says he’s appalled at the outcome of an investigation into a Caltex Kurnell generated oil spill in Botany Bay that occurred in Mach last year
South Australia Leading delegation for fishing Port Lincoln tuna magnate Hagen Stehr will fly the flag for Eyre Peninsula seafood industries in China this month when he meets with Chinese government representatives as part of a state trade delegation
Dredge report released An independent report about the effects of dredging and sediment disposal on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area has found the impacts will differ, depending on the location, timing, size and type of dredging and disposal activity
Victories in war against Crown of ThornsMarine protection agencies are claiming new victories in the war against the coral eating Crown of Thorns Starfish (COTS) after thousands of the creatures were killed by an elite team of divers at a reef near Innisfail.
World’s first ocean cleaning system to be deployed in 2016 The floating array will span 2000 metres and catch plastic pollution. Within 5 years, after a series of deployments of increasing scale, The Ocean Cleanup plans to deploy a 100km-long system to clean up about half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, between Hawaii and California
35 years on, is the deal to protect Antarctic’s oceans working? Thirty-five years since the birth of the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, the agreement that aims to keep the ecosystem in the seas around Antarctica safe from harm, member nations are this week meeting in Santiago, While, to assess their responsibilities.
DNA detectives track covert Southern Ocean whaling Somewhere in the Southern Ocean, it seems someone has been covertly catching whales. DNA detective work has tracked down meat on sale in Japan from endangered fin and sei whales that scientists say should not be there.
‘Dead zones’ found far out to sea Scientists say they have found the first deep ocean “dead zones” – areas of water with virually no oxygen – in immense whirlpools in the tropical North Atlantic.
Fisheries Management Act 1994 (the Act). NSW DPI have proposed amendments to the Act . This act is the main piece of legislation governing the management of fisheries in NSW.
The Fisheries Management Amendment Bill (the Bill), introduced to NSW Parliament in 2004, aims to make a range of changes that will influence all fishing sectors. The NSW Government decided to conduct further consultation before progressing the Bill in Parliament. Comments are now sought to provide feedback on the Bill.
The below papers summarise the key changes likely to be of interest to relevant stakeholder groups, and provide information on why the changes are sought.