Fisheries and the environment

Fisheries and the environment

Operation of large mid water trawl freezer vessels in the Small Pelagic Fishery prohibited

Large mid water trawl freezer vessels will not be able to operate in Australia's Small Pelagic Fishery following a decision by the Australian Government to prohibit them from operating in this fishery.

Environment Minister Tony Burke and Fisheries Minister Joe Ludwig, have agreed there is uncertainty about the environmental impacts of the operation of large mid water trawl freezer vessels in the Small Pelagic Fishery. The Ministers have also agreed that it is appropriate to establish an expert panel to assess and report on this commercial fishing activity and that it is appropriate to prohibit this activity while the expert panel conducts the assessment. The prohibition will be in effect for 24 months from midnight on Monday 19 November 2012.

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) requires the Australian Government to assess the environmental performance of fisheries and promote ecologically sustainable fisheries management.

The Sustainable Fisheries Section is responsible for the assessment of fisheries managed under Commonwealth legislation and state export fisheries in accordance with the Act.

Our primary role is to evaluate the environmental performance of fisheries, including:

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New South Wales Victoria Queensland South Australia Western Australia Tasmania Northern Territory

Fisheries assessments

An independent assessment of all export and all Australian Government managed fisheries is required. These assessments ensure that, over time, fisheries are managed in an ecologically sustainable way.

The assessments are conducted against the 2nd edition of the Guidelines for the Ecologically Sustainable Management of Fisheries (the Guidelines). The Guidelines outline specific principles and objectives designed to ensure a strategic and transparent way of evaluating the ecological sustainability of fishery management arrangements.

The assessment process is designed to incorporate a flow of communication between fishery managers and the SFS, in order to facilitate the best outcome for the fishery. Each fishery is unique, and assessment is based on the merits of the combination of management measures in place and fishery specific issues.

EPBC Act export decisions

Approval of a Wildlife Trade Operation (WTO)

Approval of a WTO is made through an instrument signed by the Minister or his delegate and published in the Gazette. The Minister or his delegate may specify that the declaration only applies during a particular period or while certain circumstances apply or while a certain condition is complied with (subsection 303FT(4)).

A declaration may be varied by specifying additional or new conditions or revoking or varying existing conditions by a subsequent instrument published in the Gazette (subsection 303FT(7)). A declaration must be revoked if the Minister is satisfied that a condition or circumstance of the declaration has been contravened (subsection 303FT(9)). A declaration may be revoked at any time. The following link lists all the current fishery wildlife trade operations.

List of Exempt Native Specimens (LENS)

The LENS provides the most recent list of specimens exempt from the export controls of the EPBC Act.

Specimens that are, or are derived from, Australian native species and are exempt from the export regulations of the Act are identified on this list. Conditions and/or limitations to the exemption are included under a column entitled 'notation'. Where there is no notation then the definition of a specimen for that particular species is taken to include the whole plant or animal and/or any parts or derivatives from it.