Effects of Trawling Subprogram: assessment of bycatch in the Great Australian Bight Trawl Fishery
The GAB Management Advisory Committee (GABMAC) and the GAB Industry Association (GABIA) have raised concerns that they do not have the data necessary to assess the GABTF's compliance with ESD principles. If the core objectives of The National Policy on Fisheries Bycatch are to be implemented for the GABTF, there is an essential need for baseline data on bycatch to be gathered. Once this information is available, they will be able to determine if bycatch levels are acceptable or if there are particular times or regions in which the bycatch levels in the GABTF are deemed too high. When a comprehensive understanding of the nature of the bycatch issue in the GABTF is established, it will be then possible to investigate the most appropriate ways of reducing the levels of bycatch.
1. Design an onboard sampling strategy which will provide a representative sample of the spatial and temporal dynamics of the total catch composition (retained and discarded) in the GABTF.
2. Undertake onboard sampling of commercial vessels and collect basic biological data (size, growth, age, maturity etc.) on the important species caught in the GABTF.
3. Based on the data collected during this project, provide Industry, the GABMAC and stock assessment scientists with information on GABTF species biology and bycatch composition appropriate to their specific needs.
4. Investigate the potential for Environment Australia to fund data collection from commercial vessels working within the GAB Marine Park which can be used in conjunction with or comparison to the CSIRO research cruise. (To be negotiated)
Principal Investigator: Ian A. Knuckey and Lauren P. Brown