Reducing bycatch in Commonwealth fisheries

Reducing bycatch in Commonwealth fisheries

Australia continues to improve its fisheries management systems with the release of a new Commonwealth policy for avoiding and minimising bycatch—species caught but not targeted by commercial fishers.

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Richard Colbeck, said that the Second Edition of the Commonwealth Fisheries Bycatch Policy and implementation guidelines give practical instructions to limit fishing impacts on the marine environment and further supports trust in our world-class fisheries management systems.

“Being World Fisheries Day, it is a perfect opportunity to launch the revised policy and highlight Australia’s role as an international leader in sustainable fisheries management”, Minister Colbeck said.

“This bycatch policy complements and supports the new Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy, and will contribute to Australia’s world-class, sustainable and environmentally responsible fisheries management regime.

“This will in turn increase the confidence of retailers, consumers and the general public in the world-leading sustainability of Australian seafood.

“The bycatch policy and harvest strategy policy will also provide greater management certainty for fishers.

“We continue to work collaboratively with marine scientists and fisheries managers to drive innovation in on-water practices, bycatch mitigation technologies and fishing gear design.”

Minister for the Environment, Melissa Price, said the policy aims to reduce fishing-related impacts on bycatch species and the marine environment consistent with the principles of ecologically sustainable development.

“The purpose of the bycatch policy is to ensure that direct and indirect impacts on marine systems are taken into account and managed accordingly,” Minister Price said.

“This is done through mechanisms that reduce bycatch, improve mitigation measures for protected species and minimise impacts of fishing on the marine environment.

“These policies reflect the significant commitment by the government, industry and scientists to ensure Commonwealth fisheries are managed on an ecologically sustainable basis.

“This Government pursues bycatch management options that are practical, cost-effective to apply and that support environmental and fisheries legislative requirements.”

Source: Australian Government