Fishos urged to have say on gamefish management

The public consultation period for a new Eastern Tuna and Billfish Management plan is running out – the closing date for submissions is December 8, 2010.

The gamefish species directly affected under the management plan include: yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna, swordfish, striped marlin and albacore.

According to independent fisheries consultant Len Olyott, “The new plan sees a move to a Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) with quota limits being set for the major target species.

Olyott said that the TACC does not include an allocation for the recreational fishing sector, however, the Management Plan stipulates that before setting the Total Allowable Commercial Catch: AFMA (1) must consider the total catch of all sectors including recreational and (2) AFMA must consider resource sharing arrangements.

He said, “In determining the Recommended Biological Commercial Catch (RBCC) on which the TACC should be based, the resource assessment group did not explicitly include recreational data in the assessment and assumed that trends in commercial catch-per-unit effort would also reflect trends in the recreational fishery.”

A recent exercise by CSIRO scientists has demonstrated that for striped marlin, inclusion of recreational catch information would have an impact on the overall harvest strategy.

Olyott says the new management plan is the opportunity for the recreational fishing community to have its thoughts heard on the following issues:

· Legal obligation to consider recreational catch
· Resource Sharing
· TACC in excess of recommended levels

For more information on the new Eastern Tuna and Billfish Management plan or to lodge a submission click HERE.

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