Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

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SESSF Direction No. 05 Directions/Other as made
Gear Requirements for the Commonwealth Trawl Sector.
Administered by: Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Registered 20 Dec 2005
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled HR07-Feb-2006
Tabled Senate07-Feb-2006
Date of repeal 17 Feb 2006
Repealed by Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery Gear Requirement Direction for the Commonwealth Trawl Sector - 2006




Issued by the Authority of the Managing Director

of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority


Fisheries Management Act 1991

Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery Management Plan 2003


SESSF Direction No. 05


Subsection 17(5A)(a) of the Fisheries Management Act 1991 (the Management Act) provides that a plan of management made under the Management Act may provide for the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), after such consultations (if any) as set out in the plan of management, to direct that fishing is not to be engaged in, in the fishery, or a particular part of the fishery, during a particular period of periods.


Subsection 17(5B) provides that a Direction under 17(5A)(a) in relation to a part of a fishery may identify the part concerned in any way or ways, including by reference to a particular kind, size or quantity of fishing equipment.


Subsection 56(1) of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Management Plan 2003 (SESSF Plan) provides that AFMA may direct that fishing is not to be engaged in the fishery, or a part of the fishery, during a particular period or periods.  Section 5 of the SESSF Plan provides objectives of the SESSF Plan, including the implementation of efficient and cost effective management of the fishery.


Subsection 56(2) of the SESSF Plan provides that, before AFMA issues a direction, it must consult and consider the views of, each relevant management advisory committee about the content of the direction unless the direction is issued in circumstances of an emergency.


Section 92 of the Fisheries Administration Act 1991 provides for AFMA to delegate its powers and functions to, among others, the Managing Director of AFMA.  Subsection 17 (11) of the Management Act permits AFMA to delegate its powers to make directions (among other things) only to the Managing Director.  AFMA has delegated its power to make Directions to the Managing Director.



Over the past couple of years, the South East Trawl Management Advisory Committee (SETMAC) has discussed the need to reduce bycatch, especially of small and juvenile fish (such as juvenile grenadier, eastern gemfish and small redfish). While the uptake of larger mesh and the use of square or rotated mesh panels has been significant on a voluntary basis, it is recognised that more needs to be done to further reduce this incidental catch. Industry have been motivated to develop net modifications because mortality of juvenile or small quota species is taken into account in setting total allowable catches and therefore has a negative impact on their potential revenue.  



Specified fishing gear requirements are recommended based on industry trials and the experience of South East Trawl Fishery (SETF) fishers using modified gear in some or all of their activities. These specifications have been elaborated on through specific Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) Projects. Work on further quantifying the performance of some of the modifications will be ongoing.  It is expected that this work may provide some important information into the potential of T90 extensions (extensions constructed solely out of rotated mesh) as a tool to improve selectivity in the SETF.


Advantages of the proposed refinements of the regulated codend mesh size in the South East Trawl Fishery include:


§         Cost effective


-            operators can continue using their current codends (albeit with the addition of bycatch modification (square or rotated panel). This has minimal cost implications because material from current codends is used.

-            minimum compliance time required, as the panel is easily visible on the net drum.


§         Potentially significant reduction in bycatch of small and juvenile fish.


§         Pursues Industry’s commitment to the EPBC Act, Strategic Assessment requirements and AFMA’s Ecologically Sustainable Development legislative objective.



At the South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association (SETFIA) meeting in June 2005, industry members developed and discussed two options available to the industry to reduce discards. These were to move to 102/115 mm (4 / 4 1/2 inch) mesh codend or to adopt the use of 90 mm single twine. SETFIA undertook extensive consultation with industry in developing the options. The meeting was advised that single twine 90 mm may burst with larger catches and may wear out more quickly than double twine. Based on the gear modification being tested, industry agreed that an alternative would be that if an operator was using 90 mm double twine mesh, a square or rotated-mesh panel would have to be fitted within the top panel of the cod end. Industry members advised the meeting that various codend and net modifications were being developed by industry that could appropriately address many of these issues.  It was agreed that Industry recommendations of appropriate gear changes were to be developed and considered at SETMAC 91 (November 2005). 

SETMAC 91 recommended to AFMA that permissible mesh size in codends be defined in a statutory Direction to take effect on 1 January 2006.

On the 2nd of December 2005 AFMA wrote to the Office of Regulatory Review (ORR) seeking advice on whether a Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) was required for this Direction. A RIS exception was advised (ID 7843) due to the proposal being of a minor or machinery nature and does not substantially alter existing arrangements.

Details of the Direction are set out below:

Clause 1 provides for the Direction to be cited as SESSF Direction No. 05.

Clause 2 provides for the commencement of the Direction.

Clause 3 states to whom the Direction applies.

Clause 4 sets out the period of application of this Direction.

Clause 5 defines certain terms used in the Direction and provides that terms used in the Direction that are defined for the purposes of the Plan have the same meanings as they have in the Plan.  The note indicates that terms defined in the Management Act have the same meaning in the Direction.

Clause 6 states the specific gear requirements and the bycatch reduction devices are detailed in Schedule 1. 


SESSF No. 05