There is need for a coordinated, nationally consistent approach to developing harvest strategies for Australian fisheries. The Commonwealth Harvest Strategies Policy and Guidelines (2007) provide a foundation for harvest strategy development in Commonwealth managed fisheries. AFMF has identified the need to build upon these strategies to encompass fisheries managed by both Commonwealth and State Governments. The proposed project will deliver an agreed set of overarching principles for Harvest Strategies across Australia.
Presently, the key elements of harvest strategies (defined objectives, indicators, assessments, reference points, trigger points and decision rules) vary in their implementation across jurisdictions. There are also gaps for some mixed sector fisheries where recreational or indigenous sectors dominate and/or commercial fisheries have low data.
The AFMF, in consultation with FRDC, recognise:
- There is a common objective of ESD across jurisdictions
- Harvest Strategies need to balance flexibility (to allow for changing circumstances) with providing certainty for how a fishery will be managed
- Harvest Strategies for shared/straddling stocks need further consideration and collaboration across jurisdictions to enhance stock management and data sharing
- A multi-jurisdictional harvest strategy for a shared stock will assist fisheries managers, industry and others with facilitating trade between states and managing the impacts of climate change.
- There are common challenges across jurisdictions to develop and apply harvest strategies in data poor fisheries; and incorporating non-commercial sectors into harvest strategies.
- Further work is required to include economic goals and indicators in harvest strategies, and subsequently on economic data collection
- Further work is required to identify recreational and social objectives and indicators.
The proposed project will focus on components of fisheries management considered less developed than other areas. These areas are:
- Cross-jurisdictional fisheries management arrangements
- Recreational fisheries management arrangements
- Incorporating triple bottom line analysis into fisheries management decision-making
The National Guidelines aim to provide practical technical assistance to all government fisheries management agencies in Australia (State, Territory and Commonwealth) to develop fishery-specific harvest strategies and to facilitate a consistent and more harmonized approach across fisheries throughout Australia. The National Guidelines aim to help inform policy makers involved in the development of over-arching harvest strategy policies and assist in ensuring a national best-practice approach to the development of such policies. A national approach to harvest strategy development will enable common challenges to be addressed in a consistent and coordinated manner, thereby avoiding unnecessary duplication of effort and resources, and ensuring more targeted investment in ways to address common challenges.