Ian Cresswell, Delegate of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, 19 August 2004
The Hon Kim Chance MLC
Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
11th Floor, Dumas House
2 Havelock Street
West Perth WA 6005
I am writing to you as Delegate of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage in relation to the assessment of the Broome Prawn Managed Fishery under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the Act). In December 2003 the Department of Fisheries Western Australia (DFWA) submitted the document Application to the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage on the Broome Prawn Managed Fishery for assessment under the Act.
The submission has been assessed for the purposes of the protected species provisions of Part 13 and 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 (DEH) website at: http://www.deh.gov.au/coasts/fisheries/index.html.
I am satisfied that the management arrangements for the fishery require that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure that protected species are not injured or killed and the level of interactions with such species in the fishery is not likely to adversely affect the conservation status of protected species or the survival and recovery of listed threatened species. Hence, the management arrangements for the Broome Prawn Managed Fishery meet the requirements of Part 13 of the Act and I propose to accredit the management plan accordingly. Accreditation will ensure that individual fishers operating in accordance with the management arrangements are not required to seek permits in relation to interactions with protected species in Commonwealth waters.
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 or are derived from fish taken in the Broome Prawn Managed 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 strategic management arrangements, data gathering, and limited nature of the fishery allows confidence that the fishery managers will maintain low bycatch levels, 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 the BPMF is addressing them adequately. Officers from our two departments have discussed key areas requiring ongoing attention. I understand that DFWA have committed to implementing a number of new management measures and officers from both our Departments have agreed to a number of recommended actions, focusing on ensuring the continuation of good management practices, to be implemented before the next Australian Government 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 Western Australia managed fisheries.
Delegate of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
19th August 2004
Recommendations to the Department of Fisheries Western Australia on the ecologically sustainable management of the Broome Prawn Managed Fishery
The Broome Prawn Managed 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 and output controls for the target species;
- A wide range of reviewable management objectives, strategies and performance indicators contained within the ESD report for the fishery;
- A reliable fisheries dependant catch monitoring regime;
- A risk assessment of the environmental issues in the fishery;
- A commitment to implement a research observer survey to quantify bycatch quantity and composition in the fishery;
- A restricted season and restricted fishable area; and
- A proactive approach to mitigating protected species interactions and minimising bycatch through the introduction of Bycatch Reduction Devices and Fish Exclusion Devices and to minimising marine pollution.
DEH welcomes a number of management commitments made by DFWA in the Application to the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage on the Broome Prawn Managed Fishery. The implementation of a research observer survey and the measures, indicators and responses within the ESD report were significant consideration in the assessment of the fishery and will be reviewed as part of the next DEH review in 5 years time.
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. DFWA should action these recommendations before the next review in 2009.
- DFWA to advise of any material change to fishery's legislated management plan that could affect the criteria on which EPBC decisions are based, within 3 months of the change being made.
- DFWA to ensure, where appropriate, that any relevant community, research, indigenous, conservation and recreational interests in the fishery are considered through consultative mechanisms.
- The ESD report, including all performance measures, responses and information requirements, to be formally incorporated into the management regime and decision making process.
- DFWA, in its Annual State of the Fisheries Report, to report on the performance of the fishery against performance measures that relate to the sustainability of the fishery.
- DFWA to incorporate into the management regime, an objective to minimise protected/listed species interactions, to minimise or maintain at sustainable levels the take of other non-retained species and to minimise impacts on the marine environment.
- DFWA to provide a mechanism, which allows fishers to record interactions with protected/listed species. DFWA to implement an education program to ensure that industry has the capacity to make these reports at an appropriate level of accuracy.