Ian Campbell, Delegate of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, 9 August 2004
The Hon Paul Holloway MLC
Minister for Agriculture Food and Fisheries
GPO Box 668
ADELAIDE SA 5001
I am writing to you as Delegate of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage in relation to the assessment of the South Australian Beach-cast Seagrass and Marine Algae Fishery under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). In March 2004 the Department of Primary Industries and Resources South Australia (PIRSA) submitted the document entitled Ecological Assessment of the South Australian Beach-cast Seagrass and Marine Algae Fishery for assessment under the EPBC Act.
The submission has been assessed for the purposes of the wildlife trade provisions of Part 13A of the EPBC Act.
I am pleased to advise that assessment of the fishery is now complete. The assessment report will be available on the Department of the Environment and Heritage website at: http://www.deh.gov.au/coasts/fisheries/index.html.
I am satisfied that for the purposes of the wildlife trade provisions in part 13A of the EPBC Act, the management arrangements provide the basis for the fishery to be managed in an ecologically sustainable way. I therefore propose to amend the list of exempt native specimens, to include specimens that are taken in the South Australian Beach-cast Seagrass and Marine Algae Fishery, excluding specimens that are listed under Part 13 of the EPBC Act, for a period of five years. Such listing will serve to exempt the fishery from the export controls of the EPBC Act, providing the fishery continues not to involve the export of specimens listed on the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species.
The management arrangements for the fishery meet the Australian Government's Guidelines for the Ecologically Sustainable Management of Fisheries. The fishery is well managed under a comprehensive, adaptable, precautionary and ecologically based regime capable of controlling, monitoring and enforcing the level of take from the fishery. The combination of management arrangements, data gathering, proposed research and nature of the fishery allows confidence that the fishery managers will minimise interaction with protected species and manage impacts on the wider ecosystem.
While there are some environmental risks associated with this fishery, I believe that PIRSA is addressing them adequately. Officers from our two departments have discussed key areas requiring ongoing attention. I understand that they have agreed to a number of recommended actions, focusing on ensuring the continuation of good management practices, to be implemented before the next Commonwealth review of the fishery. These recommendations, attached to the letter, have been an important factor in my decision to exempt the fishery and I look forward to receiving your confirmation that they will be implemented.
I would like to thank you for the constructive way in which your officials have approached this assessment and I look forward to reviewing the remainder of the South Australian managed fisheries.
Delegate of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
9 August 2004
Recommendations to the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries South Australia (PIRSA) on the ecologically sustainable management of the South Australian Beach-cast Seagrass and Marine Algae Fishery
The South Australian Beach-cast Seagrass and Marine Algae Fishery is a well-managed fishery with a range of significant management measures to promote the ecologically sustainable harvesting of species from the fishery. These measures include:
- A comprehensive suite of input controls for the target species;
- A wide range of reviewable management objectives, strategies and performance indicators contained within the management plan for the fishery;
- A commitment to the undertaking of a research program to establish any impacts of harvest on the target species or the wider ecosystem;
The following recommendations have been made to further strengthen the effectiveness of the management arrangements for the fishery and minimise environmental risks in the medium to longer term. PIRSA should action these recommendations before the next review in 2009.
- PIRSA to advise DEH of any material change to the management regime that could affect the criteria on which an EPBC decision is based, within 3 months of that change being made.
- PIRSA to formally implement performance indicators and trigger points for objective one of the ecological fishery dimension: "Disturbance by commercial operators to sand dunes, coastal vegetation, fauna and beach surfaces is minimised". The performance indicators and trigger points will be implemented by July 2005.
- PIRSA to formally amend its management responses to include a timeframe for reporting a trigger breach to the Director of Fisheries, and for the report to include a timeframe for implementing the appropriate management response. This amendment will be implemented by July 2005.
- PIRSA to document the research program, including a timeframe for implementation, and make the program outline publicly available by July 2005.