Competitive Round Call for Expressions of Interest now open. Closes 27 September 2019

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Title:

Ensuring monitoring and management of bycatch in Southern Rock Lobster fisheries is best practice

Project Number:

2017-082

Organisation:

University of Tasmania (UTAS)

Principal Investigator:

Rafael I. Leon

Project Status:

Current

FRDC Expenditure:

$225,282.00

Program(s):

Environment, Industry

Need

Documenting and assessing the impact of fishing on bycatch is required for all rock lobster fisheries to enable the appropriate management of ecosystem interactions. This includes the requirements for EPBC Act reporting and jurisdictional reporting obligations. Bycatch information is currently collected in all Southern Rock Lobster Fisheries (SRLF), but improvements are required if the fisheries are to meet the standards required for rigorous certification such as by MSC. Aside from certification, performing below best practice represents a risk for these fisheries in community acceptance. Problem are not severe but there is nonetheless need for improvement, especially in valuable fisheries of this size. Problems include poor quality of byproduct reporting in logbooks, a lack of combined assessments of bycatch risks across jurisdictions (in addition to cumulative impacts), reporting systems not consistent with standard and/or best practice (e.g. numbers vs weights), different risk-based assessment methods being used across jurisdictions, and no agreed / implemented approach for monitoring the status of species that are at moderate risk. Bycatch management ideally requires integration into the harvest strategy and this will be pursued through this project including by the development of reference points for relevant species. Additionally, there is a need for transparent reporting of bycatch and threatened, endangered and protected species (TEPS) to wider community stakeholders to communicate sustainable management of Southern Rock Lobster Fisheries.

Objectives

1. To define consistent data collection methodology of bycatch and TEPS that is best practice and can be verified across South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania.

2. To do a risk assessment pooled across all jurisdictions which will comprise all current information on bycatch and TEPS in SRLF.

3. To develop best practice ongoing reporting for SRLF emphasising the high risk species identified from objective 2.

4. To do stock assessments of selected byproduct species ranked at high risk in objective 2, using data-poor stock assessment methods.

5. To provide guidance around establishment of appropriate performance indicators for moderate and high risk bycatch and associated management strategies.