Project Title:

Final report - 2013-233-DLD - Benchmarking Australia's national fisheries status reporting system

Project Number: 2013-233
Published Date: Apr 2014 Year: 2014
ISBN: 978-0-9924930-0-4 ISSN:
Description: This document began the process of dealing with the complexities arising from the existence of 8 different jurisdictional schemes around the country. It involved compiling and massaging the information from all those jurisdictions into one format. Now that the first SAFS report has been completed and work is beginning on the next, FRDC thought that it was timely to examine how other countries were dealing with fisheries performance reporting, identify what may constitute “world’s best practices” in this area, compare these to the Australian situation, and so identify if and how the Australian process could be improved. This is the purpose of this project and the following report.

 

Principal Investigator: Steven J. Kennelly

Key Words: stock status, fisheries, management, jurisdiction, reporting

Summary: 

One of the key issues that arose during the preparation and reviews of the recent “Status of Key Australian Fish Stocks Reports” was that there exists no system in Australia for reporting on bycatches or discards. That is, there currently exists no mechanism by which the public, governments, stakeholders or international agencies can assess Australia’s performance in dealing with bycatch. Due to this gap, FRDC recently commissioned this extension to FRDC 2013/233 whose Terms of Reference are:

  • Provide a brief summary of the US National Bycatch Report and other overseas bycatch reports;

  •  Investigate current and future FAO initiatives in this area;

  • Benchmark the current Australian situation on bycatch reporting against the above; and

  • Recommend a clear pathway towards an appropriate national system. 

In developing a pathway towards an appropriate national system for bycatch reporting in Australia, it is appropriate to consider the approach used by NMFS. As for the US report, the desired outcome from an Australian bycatch reporting system should be the establishment of a repeatable (every 5 years or so), transparent system tied to the current SAFS reporting process by which governments, the public and other stakeholders (including commercial and recreational fishing sectors, environmental NGOs, etc.) can track and assess the progress (or otherwise) in the management of bycatch and discards from our fisheries. A logical set of steps is required to deliver this outcome:

  •  Firstly, to determine where we sit nationally with respect to bycatch and discard data, we should initially identify all available reports/papers/unpublished datasets on bycatches and discards from as many fisheries in Australia as possible;

  •  Next we should assess these datasets and documents and apply a quality score for each so we can assess their relative value and accuracy. A summary “quality” metric should be applied and be available for comparisons with future reports;

  •  Analyse the information gathered to calculate summary estimates of bycatches for fisheries, species, jurisdictions and the nation. From this analysis we should identify the positives and negatives in our datasets. That is, using a risk-based approach, we should identify those fisheries and fishing methods where we have adequate information, those for which we do not, and any fisheries/methods which may prove useful as surrogates/indicators for particular types of fisheries/methods.

  • Using the lessons learned from the above, develop templates, reporting processes, key methods/fisheries/species/surrogates/indicators/etc. to be used in subsequent repeats, and therefore provide a system of reporting to be used as an adjunct to the current SAFS reporting system.

  •  Develop an initial first bycatch “report card” for Australia using an appropriate traffic light system based on the above analysis and so compile Australia’s First National Bycatch Report.

  •  Repeat this process periodically as a part of SAFS and as a mechanism to inject data into the Fishery Health Check system currently under development. The US bycatch reporting system involves a schedule of online updates every 2 years with a full report every 6 years, and the FAO process is a decadal one. Australia should probably try to aim for updates every 5 to 10 years – which would allow for reasonable regularity and also sufficient time for improvements in bycatch management to take effect.

 


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