The Australian Government's directive and AFMA's response, indicate there is an urgent need to further reduce bycatch in trawl catches in the SESSF. The economic ramifications could be considerable if industry are forced to retain smaller sized quota species. It is unlikey the price obtained for the smaller fish would adequately compensate the costs in retaining it.
Anecdotally, it appears the Network TN net has been able to reduce bycatch and has received strong endorsement from a range of fishers who are currently using the net (Appendix 1). Most have noted a substantial reduction in their bycatch especially in smaller fish. However to add credence in convincing other fishers of the advantages of this net there needs to be a qualified scientific study and sea trials conducted, to test whether catches towing with the NetworkTN net are siginificantly different from catches towed with a the current nets used by industry.