Project number: 2008-101
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $75,000.00
Principal Investigator: Eddie Jebreen
Organisation: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries EcoScience Precinct
Project start/end date: 31 Jul 2009 - 23 Dec 2010


A unique opportunity exists to capture the results of the recent FRDC funded research project “Reducing the impact of Queensland's trawl fisheries on protected sea snakes (Project No. 2005/053)”, and fast track adoption of these results by the Queensland East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (ECOTF). The project results estimate the capture of approximately 100,000 sea snakes annually within the ECOTF. The red-spot king prawn sector of the fishery, which is a reef-associated prawn fishery, accounted for about 59% of all sea snake catches and 85% of mortalities. Fisheye Bycatch Reduction Devices (BRD) were shown to reduce sea snake capture by around 62%. Adoption of these devices, including appropriate installation and maintenance, within the red-spot king prawn sector of the ECOTF alone would result in a significant reduction in trawl fishery induced sea snake mortality in Queensland, and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The fisheye BRD was also equivalent to the Square Mesh Codend (SMC) BRD as the most effective devices to reduce bycatch tested in the project. The main difference between the two being that the fisheye is better at excluding large thick snakes than the SMC. These results offer an outstanding opportunity for the trawl fishing industry to significantly reduce an identified ecological impact.

The project also extends the results of the FRDC funded research project “A collaborative extension program by the Queensland Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries, SeaNet and Ecofish for the development and adoption of square mesh codends in select prawn and scallop trawl fisheries in Queensland (Project 2005/054)”.

This work would align with the outcomes of the DEWHA assessment of the ECOTF for the purposes of accreditation under Parts 13 (protected species) and 13A (export approval) of the EPBC Act 1999.


1. Reduce the capture and mortality of sea snakes through increased use of fisheye bycatch reduction devices within the red spot king prawn sector of the Queensland east coast otter trawl fishery
2. Reduce the capture of bycatch through increased use of square mesh codend bycatch reduction devices within the saucer scallop sector of the Queensland east coast otter trawl fishery
3. Improved turtle exclusion and reduced trawl fishing induced turtle mortality though the use of improved turtle excluder devices within the Queensland east coast otter trawl fishery
4. Further qualification of the associated benefits of fishers using improved bycatch reduction devices.

Final report

ISBN: 978-0-7345-0421-0
Author: Edward Jebreen

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