The South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association (SETFIA) represents businesses with a commercial interest in the South East Trawl Fishery (“SETF”) and the East Coast Deepwater Trawl Sector. SETFIA is predominately a supply based organisation but has many marketing members. The Association’s strategy is to maximise membership, build a common culture of environmental stewardship and self-management and improve on-the-water practices. It is hoped that communication of this stewardship to stakeholders brings about lower cost and improved management arrangements.

Incorporated under the Australian Corporations Act (2001), the Association members elect a Board including a Chair and Treasurer who govern the operations of the Association. The 2012/13 Board members are:

  1. Mr Richard Saul (Chairman) – owner of Ocean Oils in Melbourne, Vic
  2. Mr David Guillot – quota operator of five trawl vessels domiciled in Melbourne and Port Welshpool, Victoria
  3. Mr Tony Lavalle – quota operator of  two trawl vessel domiciled in Ulladulla, NSW
  4. Ms Barbara Konstas – CEO or Melbourne Seafood Centre
  5. Mr Tom Bibby – operator of a trawl vessel domiciled in Portland, Vic
  6. Mr Chris Fenner – Cull Fisheries who operate a Danish seiner domiciled in Queenscliff, Vic
  7. Mr Gus Dannoun (Treasurer) – Executive Manager Seafood Trading Sydney Fish Market
  8. Mr Adam Guillot – Australian Wildcatch Fisheries, Lakes Entrance, Vic
  9. Mr Nathan Kenny – operator of a Danish Seine vessel domiciled in Lakes Entrance, Vic

The South East Trawl Fishery is technically known as the Commonwealth Trawl Sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF). It stretches from Barranjoey Point (north of Sydney) southwards around Tasmania to Cape Jervis in South Australia, where it abuts the Great Australian Bight Trawl Sector. To the north, the SETF adjoins the East Coast Deepwater Trawl Sector. SETF catches in 2011/12 were 14,437 tonnes with an approximate value (measured net of the freight required to move fish from the port to the market) of $42m. Blue Grenadier, Flathead, Pink Ling and Silver Warehou accounted for two-thirds of the sector’s value.

Some species and stocks extend beyond the fishery’s boundaries, into state waters. Under Offshore Constitutional Settlement arrangements, those jurisdictions have largely ceded control of SESSF quota-managed species to the Commonwealth Government for management by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA). Consequently, in most instances, the catches in state waters by Australian Government–endorsed vessels are debited against their SESSF total allowable catch limits. However, New South Wales retains jurisdiction over catches by non-trawl fishers along the New South Wales coastline out to 80 nautical miles (nm), and trawl fishers out to 80 nm north of Barranjoey Point (the SETF boundary) and 3 nm south of Sydney.

There are two fishing methods within the SETF; Danish Seining and otterboard trawling (“trawling”). There are 57 trawl permits in the fishery including 13 Danish seine permits but only about 40 active vessels in total. In the 2011/12 season trawlers reported around 65,000 hours of fishing effort and 7,285 Danish seine shots. The SETF fleet uses many ports including Sydney, Wollongong, Ulladulla, Bermagui, Eden, Lakes Entrance, Port Welshpool, Melbourne Hobart and Portland.

The SETF has more than 30 species that are managed under quotas (also known as total allowable catches or “TACs”). These TACs are based on sustainable catch levels set under the framework of the Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy. Assessments are completed by researchers operating under contract to AFMA. The AFMA Commission makes decisions about managing the SETF in line with the Fisheries Management Act 1991 after taking advice from two Resource Assessment Groups (RAGs) and the South East Management Advisory Committee (SEMAC) which are composed of fisheries scientists, assessment scientists, Government Agencies, recreational fishing and conservation representatives commercial fishing industry representatives (including SETFIA) who make differentiated recommendations and give advice regarding stock status, harvest strategies, recommended biological catches (RBCs) and management arrangements.