Ian Creswell, Delegate of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, 12 November 2004
The Hon Kim Chance MLC
Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
11th Floor Dumas House
2 Havelock St
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 Western Australian Salmon Managed Fisheries (the South Coast Salmon Managed Fishery and the South West Coast Salmon Managed Fishery) under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the Act). In September 2004 the Department of Fisheries, Western Australia (DFWA) submitted the document entitled 'Final Application to the Department of the Environment and Heritage on the Western Australian Salmon Managed Fisheries' for assessment under the Act.
The submission has been assessed for the purposes of the wildlife trade provisions of Part 13A of the Act. I am pleased to advise that assessment of the fisheries 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/assessment/index.html.
I am satisfied that for the purposes of the wildlife trade provisions in part 13A of the Act, the management arrangements provide the basis for the fisheries 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 South Coast Salmon Managed Fishery and the South West Coast Salmon 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 fisheries from the export controls of the EPBC Act, providing the fisheries continue not to involve the export of specimens listed on the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species.
The management arrangements for the fisheries meet the Australian Government's Guidelines for the Ecologically Sustainable Management of Fisheries. DEH considers that the management arrangements, including monitoring arrangements and management objectives, are sufficient to ensure that the fisheries are conducted in a manner that does not lead to over-fishing and that stocks are not currently overfished. Considering the management arrangements in place and the selective characteristic of the fishery operations, DEH considers that fishing operations are managed to minimise their impact on the structure, productivity, function and biological diversity of the ecosystem.
While there are some environmental risks associated with these fisheries, I believe that DFWA 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 improving the robustness of data collected in the fisheries and ensuring the continuation of good management practices, to be implemented before the next Australian Government review of the fisheries. These recommendations, attached to the letter, have been an important factor in my decision to exempt the fisheries 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 WA managed fisheries.
Delegate of the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
12 November 2004
Recommendations to the Department of Fisheries, Western Australia (DFWA) on the ecologically sustainable management of the Western Australian Salmon Managed Fisheries
The Western Australian Salmon Managed Fisheries are well-managed fisheries with a range of management measures in place to promote the ecologically sustainable harvesting of species from the fishery. These measures include:
- Restriction to use of highly selective fishing gear;
- Limited commercial fishing ground access;
- Cross jurisdictional exchange of information on WA salmon stock;
- Preliminary breeding stock analyses and risk assessment; and
- Annual performance review of the fishery against strategic management objectives, indicators and performance measures.
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 the fisheries' legislated management plans and/or management arrangements 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 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 incorporated into the management regime and decision making process.
- DFWA to incorporate into the management regime, an objective to minimise protected/listed species interactions, to minimise or maintain the take of other non-retained at sustainable levels and to minimise impacts on the marine environment.
- 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 continue to cooperate with other relevant jurisdictions to pursue complementary management and research of shared target stocks.
- DFWA to develop and implement a system to periodically validate fishery dependent data on catch and effort for all target and byproduct species within 2 years.
- DFWA to implement, within 1 year, a more precautionary performance measure for the major target species sufficient to ensure that harvest is maintained within sustainable levels and that significant changes in the stock abundance can be detected.
- DFWA to collect data on non-retained species in the fisheries, sufficient to validate assumptions and inform future reviews.
- 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.