The purpose of the Commonwealth’s Policy on Fisheries Bycatch is to ensure that direct and indirect impacts on marine systems are taken into account and managed accordingly. This is done through mechanisms that reduce bycatch, improve mitigation measures for protected species and minimise impacts of fishing on the marine environment. Australia pursues bycatch management options that are practical, cost effective to apply and supports environmental and fisheries legislative requirements.
The Commonwealth’s first policy to guide the management of bycatch in Commonwealth fisheries was released in 2000 and was subsequently reviewed in 2012. On 27 May 2013, the Department of Agriculture released the:
The research reports that supported the review of the Commonwealth Policy on Fisheries Bycatch bycatch policy are available here:
- Tuck, G.N., Knuckey, I. and Klaer, N.L. 2013, Informing the review of the Commonwealth Policy on Fisheries Bycatch through assessing trends in bycatch of key Commonwealth fisheries - 2012/046, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation final report, Canberra, May.
- Kirby, DS and Ward, P 2013, Improving the management of bycatch: standards for the effective mitigation of fisheries bycatch - 2010/046, ABARES report to client prepared for the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra, May.
- Penny, A.J., Kirby, D.S., Cheshire, K., Wilson, M., and Bray, S. 2013, Technical review for the Commonwealth Policy on Fisheries Bycatch: risk-based approaches, reference points and decision rules for bycatch and byproducts species- 2011/251, ABARES report to client prepared for the Fisheries and Research and Development Corporation, Canberra, June.
The key outcomes of the review were to develop a revised bycatch policy with new objectives, a set of principles and an improved definition for bycatch.
The review recommended a revised bycatch policy that adopts risk based approaches to assess the level and likelihood of impacts on bycatch species. Risk based approaches can be used where there is limited information and uncertainty, with management responses applied in a tiered approach commensurate with the level of risk. Greater levels of intervention are required with greater risk and uncertainty.
In March 2012, the former Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, announced the review of the Commonwealth Policy on Fisheries Bycatch and released the associated terms of reference.
The bycatch policy review was overseen by a steering committee of government representatives, which met five times during the review period.
An advisory committee was also established with members from government, the commercial fishing industry, recreational sector, research and environmental non- government organisations, which met twice. View minutes:
In addition, two stakeholder workshops were held to identify and discuss stakeholder’s key issues for a revised bycatch policy. Reports are available:
Issues paper released 9 November 2012
On 9 November 2012, the Department of Agriculture released the bycatch policy review’s issues paper for public consultation. The issues paper was developed to promote discussion and feedback on issues relevant to the bycatch policy that may require refinement, elaboration or further development. Interested members of the public were invited to contribute to the bycatch policy review by providing a submission on issues canvassed in this issues paper or other matters relevant to the review. The public consultation period closed on 21 December 2012. Full submissions are available below.
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Reports referenced in the issues paper
- AAD 2006. Threat Abatement Plan 2006 for the incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations, Australian Antarctic Division, Department of the Environment and Water Resources PDF [1.1 MB], Kingston.
- Bensley, N, Stobutzki, I, Woodhams, J and Mooney, C 2010, Review of wildlife bycatch management in Commonwealth fisheries, BRS report prepared for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry, Fisheries Policy Branch PDF [480 KB], Canberra, July.
- FAO 2003. Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries: 4. Fisheries Management, Supplement 2. The ecosystem approach to fisheries. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, 112 p.
- Hobday A.J., A.D.M. Smith, I.C. Stobutzki, C. Bulman, R. Daley, J.M. Dambacher, R.A. Deng, J. Dowdney, M. Fuller, D. Furlani, S.P. Griffiths, D. Johnson, R. Kenyon, I.A. Knuckey, S.D. Ling,, R. Pitcher, K.J. Sainsbury, M. Sporcic, T. Smith, C. Turnbull, T.I. Walker, S.E. Wayte, H. Webb, A. Williams, B.S. Wise and S. Zhou 2011. Ecological risk assessment for the effects of fishing. Fisheries Research PDF [1.1 MB], doi:10.1016/j.fishres.2011.01.013.
- Scandol, J.P., Ives, M.C. and Lockett, M.M., 2009. Development of national guidelines to improve the application of risk–based methods in the scope, implementation and interpretation of stock assessments for data–poor species. Final report to the Fisheries Research & Development Corporation for Project No. 2007/016. Industry & Investment NSW – Final Report Series PDF [5 MB] No. 115. Cronulla Fisheries Research Centre of Excellence, NSW, Australia. 184pp.
- Phillips K., F. Giannini, E. Lawrence and N. Bensley 2010. Cumulative assessment of the catch of non–target species in Commonwealth fisheries: a scoping study. Bureau of Rural Sciences PDF [210 KB], Canberra, 42 pp.
- Raudzens, E 2007, At sea testing of the Popeye Fishbox bycatch reduction device onboard the FV Adelaide Pearl for approval in Australia’s Northern Prawn Fishery, AFMA PDF [1.2 MB], Canberra.
- Sainsbury, K. 2008. Best Practice Reference Points for Australian Fisheries. Report R2001/0999 to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Department of the Environment and Heritage PDF [1.5 MB], 159 p.
- Zhou S., Smith T. And Fuller M. 2007. Rapid quantitative risk assessment for fish species in selected Commonwealth fisheries. CSIRO Report to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority PDF [1.3 MB], 125 p.