Conditions and Recommendations to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
(DAFF) on the ecologically sustainable management of the harvest of product from the
Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) fishery.
DAFF’s progress on meeting Conditions 3, 5 and 9 and Recommendations 1, 2 and 3
AFMA and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) to produce and present
reports to SEWPaC annually as per Appendix B to the Guidelines for the Ecologically Sustainable
Management of Fisheries - 2nd Edition
DAFF has provided input into AFMA’s Annual Status Reports on the Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery
to inform SEWPaC on the progress towards meeting the conditions and recommendations of the 2010
export approval of the Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery under the Environment Protection and
Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
DAFF and AFMA to:
a) develop a methodology by 1 September 2012 for obtaining regular statistically robust
estimates of recreational and charter fishing catch of SBT in Australian waters;
A workshop in 2011, which involved all relevant State Governments, Australian Bureau of
Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) and recreational stakeholders,
identified a preferred methodology for obtaining regular estimates of recreational and charter fishing
catches of southern bluefin tuna (SBT) in Australian waters. This led to the development of a funding
application to test the methodology, which was submitted to the Fisheries Research and Development
Corporation (FRDC). The methodology involves a combination of on-site and off-site surveys, review
and development of charter boat logbooks and the collection of data from tournaments.
b) using the methodology in a), to work towards progressing a first round of data and
information collection with a view to making this information publicly available.
Work is currently underway to progress testing and implementation of the methodology and the first
round of data collection.
In June 2012, FRDC approved the funding application. The total budget is $500 000 from the FRDC,
DAFF and the New South Wales Recreational Fishing Trust. ABARES and co-investigators are also
providing in-kind contributions.
To the extent consistent with domestic legislation, AFMA and DAFF to implement as a minimum all
actions agreed by the CCSBT to help ensure the recovery of SBT stock to ecologically sustainable
All measures agreed at CCSBT are implemented in the Australian domestic fishery through the SBT
Management Plan and associated legislative instruments.
The SBT Management Plan is currently undergoing amendments to enable AFMA to implement
resolutions agreed at CCSBT.
DAFF and AFMA to:
a) take account of all known domestic sources of mortality of SBT as part of the domestic SBT
As noted in Condition 5, ABARES and other stakeholders are currently progressing the testing and
implementation of a method to provide a national estimate of the recreational SBT catch in Australia.
The final report for this project is expected to be available in mid 2014.
Once the national survey has provided an understanding of the level of recreational and charter fishing
occurring in Australian waters, current practice with respect to the management of recreational take of
SBT can be reviewed, including monitoring, compliance and enforcement activities.
b) develop a framework by 1 July 2012 for consistent management of the take of SBT by
recreational and charter fishing that represents best-practice fisheries management and
includes effective monitoring, compliance and enforcement activities.
DAFF continues to work with State and NT fisheries agencies on the management of recreational and
charter fishing take of SBT.
DAFF to continue to pursue Australian Government objectives to incorporate an ecosystem
approach to fisheries management and rebuild the SBT stock to ecologically sustainable levels.
This is to include working within the CCSBT to help:
a) restore confidence in catch data, including through the collection of fishery independent data
and catch validation;
Fishery independent data collection continues through the DAFF/AFMA funded scientific aerial
survey in the Great Australian Bight and the CCSBT Catch Documentation Scheme which is well
established and operating effectively. In addition, Australia has continued to advocate the
establishment of a regional observer program in the CCSBT, similar to that used in other regional
fisheries management organisations. A regional observer program would provide independent
validation of catch and effort data of all CCSBT members.
b) continue to pursue, implement or improve effective monitoring, control and surveillance
measures (e.g. Catch Documentation Scheme, International Observer Program, Vessel
Monitoring System, transhipment) to ensure compliance with the global total allowable catch
and ensure that unreported catches are minimised;
CCSBT has adopted the following key measures to strengthen monitoring, control and surveillance:
- A Catch Documentation Scheme (CDS) has been implemented from 1 January 2010 which
provides a transparent paper trail of the catch of all SBT in the global fishery. The CDS will
include tagging of fish on kill/harvest and recording of weights and lengths of all fish;
o The CDS resolution was updated at CCSBT 19 (2012).
o The CCSBT Catch Documentation Scheme (CDS) came into effect in Australia on
1 January 2010.
- CCSBT vessel monitoring systems (VMS) were to be implemented by members from
1 January 2009.
o Since 1 July 2007, all boats operating in Australia’s Commonwealth fisheries have been
required to be fitted with an operational VMS.
- A revised transhipment measure was adopted in 2008 and was required to be implemented by all
CCSBT members from April 2009.
o Australia has implemented the transhipment measure and intersessional work continues to
be undertaken to improve its performance.
c) ensure that total allowable catch levels are sustainable through the development of an
appropriate Management Procedure. In this regard, Australia should continue to advocate a
position consistent with the Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy;
The CCSBT adopted a management procedure (the ‘Bali Procedure’) at its annual Commission
meeting in October 2011. The management procedure and the Resolution on Allocation of the Global
Total Allowable Catch were used to set the current three year block of global TACs (2012, 2013 and
2014). These mechanisms were designed to rebuild the spawning stock to 20 per cent of unfished
levels by 2035 with a 70 per cent probability.
d) ensure that decisions regarding the global Total Allowable Catch take into account all
mortality of SBT;
In the CCSBT adopted management procedure, which sets the global TAC, the main sources of SBT
mortality are taken into account using the two main data inputs: the Japanese CPUE (fishery
dependant data) and the scientific aerial survey index (fishery independent data).
e) monitor the SBT spawning grounds and status of the spawning stock; and
The size and age distribution of SBT on the Indonesian spawning grounds has continued to be
f) get the agreement of CCSBT to allow the use, and pursue the development, of binding
measures to mitigate the impacts on ecologically related species.
The CCSBT’s Ecologically Related Species Working Group (ERSWG) met in March 2012 and made
significant progress. An ecologically related species (ERS) data exchange has been established and
will provide information on ERS catch related to fishing for SBT for 2010, 2011 and 2012 for
consideration by the ERSWG in August 2013. This will be an annual exchange from 2013 onwards
and will establish a database of ERS information that can be used for future analyses.
Australia will continue to seek the adoption of a binding CCSBT conservation measure to mitigate the
impact on ERS of fishing for SBT.
DAFF to continue to ensure the department is kept informed of any significant change in the
CCSBT’s management of SBT
DAFF continues to keep SEWPaC informed of developments at CCSBT meetings.