Project number: 2009-048
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $579,431.00
Principal Investigator: Matt Piasente
Organisation: Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA)
Project start/end date: 30 Jun 2009 - 30 Sep 2010


ETBF Pilot Progect
In 2007, an AFMA commissioned cost benefit study and business case showed reduced costs if electronic monitoring technologies were adopted in several Commonwealth fisheries. However, there is considerable uncertainty regarding the extent to which onboard observer coverage can be replaced in the ETBF and the costs involved in intergrating electronic monitoring into AFMA management practices. This pilot project will collect suffiecient information to enable an in-depth cost benefit analysis of future monitoring options. It will resolve the uncertainty surrounding the utility of electronic monitoring technologies in the ETBF and the costs associated with integrating an electronic monitoring program within AFMA.

In addition to the time and cost savings from reduced onboard observer requirements, there are also potential efficiencies for both industry and AFMA from the use of electronic monitoring reporting. Some of these efficiencies include;
1. better understanding of fishing effort,
2. better understanding and management of fishing operations, and
3. increased data accuracy (resulting in more responsive fisheries management).

Pilbara Trawl Fishery Pilot Project
Monitoring of remote small vessel fisheries in Australia is often difficult and always costly. Travel costs, observer wages, and operational inefficiencies and restrictions of small vessels in accommodating on-board observers are all factors which act to restrict monitoring coverage while still incurring a relatively high cost to industry. With the a growing need for accurate catch and effort data and the high costs and operational restrictions of using human observers there is a subsequent need to find a cost-effective alternative that will not only improve coverage levels but also reduce costs.


1. To deploy electronic monitoring systems on ten commercial fishing vessels in the ETBF and maintain their continuous operation for a period of up to one year.
2. To evaluate the efficacy of electronic monitoring for a number of fishery monitoring issues.
3. To develop an audit-based approach to electronic monitoring data analysis for evaluating fisher logbook data quality.
4. To undertake a cost and benefit analysis of monitoring options and programs required to meet the fisheries data needs.
5. To develop and evaluate the feasibility of establishing a third party service delivery structure with Archipelago Marine Research Ltd. for an ongoing electronic monitoring program in the ETBF.
6. To assess the feasibility of electronic monitoring systems to provide better fishery monitoring outcomes, their future capacity and applications in the Pilbara Trawl Fishery and other fisheries.

Final report

ISBN: 978-1-877044-42-7
Author: Matthew Piasente

Related research