What’s a WTO?

The EPBC Act (1999) states that in order to export fish a fishery must be accredited. This can take the form of an exemption or a Wildlife Trade Operation (“WTO”). A WTO is made through an instrument signed by the Minister for the Environment. The Minister can grant a WTO for up to three years and can set down conditions on the accreditation. The South East Trawl Fishery is part of the larger Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (the SESSF), this fishery holds a current WTO accreditation. The conditions for this fishery include: reporting on progress on reducing by-catch and discards, the completion of Ecological Risk Assessments, work to reduce seabird interactions, to provide statistically robust levels of observer coverage and to implement measures to manage Upper-Slope Dogfish. Much of the work currently occurring within the fishery is to address these areas and you will have noticed that many articles in the newsletter are about these subjects. SETFIA’s members are proud to operate within a WTO fishery. The Association aims to improve consumer understanding that a WTO certification demonstrates sustainability. There are currently no rules for fish imported into Australia to be from a WTO fishery nor hold any other measure of sustainability.