NT Fisheries is seeking feedback on a new framework, harvest strategy and management arrangements for the Coastal Line Fishery (which includes the primary species Black Jewfish and Golden Snapper). AFANT is undertaking consultation with the community, following initial feedback and advice from representatives from fishing clubs including the Darwin Game Fishing Club, Palmerston Game Fishing Club, Groote Eylandt Game and Sport Fishing Club, as well as the NT Game Fishing Association.
In our assessment of the consultation documents, the new management framework and harvest strategy will be a step forward for the management of Jewfish and Golden Snapper. The draft arrangements seek to establish formal resource sharing in the fishery (between sectors) and the harvest strategy identifies pre-agreed decision rules to ensure the sustainability of Jewfish and Golden Snapper with actions to limit not only total catch but to manage the catch and performance in key jewfish aggregations to prevent overfishing.
Subject to your feedback, some key points we intend to note in our feedback to NT Fisheries are:
– AFANT recognises the step forward in management that the new management framework and harvest strategy presents, and we are broadly supportive of these steps to modernise management of this important fishery.
– AFANT supports the proposed recreational/tourism/Aboriginal only fishing zone from Cape Hotham to Point Blaze (something AFANT had early input on) is an essential step towards managing this fishery better for the future, especially with population growth. In our considerations we believe there could be potential to expand this without significantly compromising the Commercial sector.
– There is potential for population growth alone to present a potential issue for the current jewfish allocations and AFANT recommends measures to recognise this.
– The issue of how to manage some areas of declining reef fish catches remains largely unanswered, with the Reef Fish Protection areas not yet being clearly demonstrated by research as effective, nor ineffective.
– AFANT recommends in the eastern zone that most commercial (CLF licences) fishing be restricted to 5-15 nm offshore, with inshore areas allocated to /set aside for Aboriginal Traditional fishing, recreational and tourism fishing, and the development of Aboriginal Coastal Licences.
– AFANT is supportive of engagement with recreational fishers and Traditional Owners to consider a Fish Management Zone in the Southern Gulf.
– AFANT is supportive of proposals to expand the mandate for Vessel Monitoring Systems for licenced fishers.
– AFANT has identified concerns about a trend of declining reef fishing quality in areas around Darwin and Dundee (and possibly other areas). In our view the CLF Framework and Harvest Strategy may not address this sufficiently.
We welcome your input on these important issues. Please consider the following documents and complete the short survey below by Thursday July 14 2022.
CLICK ON DOCUMENTS TO READ: