South east fishery granted a 3 year WTO

12th March 2013

The Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Community (SEWPaC), the Hon. Tony Burke has declared the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery to be an approved Wildlife Trade Operation (“WTO”). This is valid until the 25th of February 2016. There are a series of standard conditions that requiring the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) to communicate with SEWPaC, act in line with the EPBC Act (1999) and evaluate and report on stock rebuilding strategies. Putting arrangement in place to rebuild gulper shark populations is also a condition but has already occurred. In addition to the conditions there are a number of recommendations for the trawl fishery including the need to determine the impact on non-target shark stocks, to continue to report on by-catch and discard workplans, to minimise seal interactions, to continue to use offal management in seabird management plans (“SMPs”) and finally to consider expanding the trawl fishery’s SMPs to other sectors in the fishery.
The Association welcomes the granting of the WTO noting that that all conditions were already being met by existing actions and that the Association in partnership with the AFMA were already making good progress on seal and seabird interactions. SETFIA is concerned that AFMA have expended significant time and cost working through the WTO process which are in addition to those required by the Fisheries Management Act (1991). The cost of both processes is cost recovered from the fishing industry.
Other activities holding WTOs include taxidermists wanting to export stuffed animals, organisations exporting wallaby skins, flower and fern exporters and Merv Cooper’s Crazy Crabs™ who presumably export live land hermit crabs.