Response to the Environment Tasmania campaign to ban pair trawling

26 May 2017

Ms Laura Kelly
Environment Tasmania
Level 1, 100 Elizabeth Street

Dear Ms Kelly

I understand Environment Tasmania is currently running a nationwide campaign seeking rejection of the application for pair trawling in the Commonwealth Small Pelagic Fishery (SPF).

Australia’s fisheries are internationally recognised as among the best managed in the world.

We have a strong legislative and policy framework, underpinned by world class scientific research. The Australian Government is committed to maintaining a balanced and science-based approach to all decisions regarding access to Commonwealth fisheries. 

All boats operating in Commonwealth fisheries, including the SPF, are subject to Australia’s strict fisheries laws. The harvesting of fish in the SPF is governed by a quota management regime (i.e. total allowable catch), which ensures fish stocks are sustainably harvested. The process for determining quota limits will remain the same regardless of the fishing method used in the SPF. 

The independent Commission of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) made the determination to approve mid-water pair trawling as a fishing method in the SPF until October 2018, subject to conditions and review. This decision was made after considering the best available science and data and taking into account advice sought from a variety of stakeholders, including through a period of public consultation.

Australia has a proud reputation as a supplier of safe, environmentally sustainable, high-quality seafood. 

I assure you the Australian Government takes seriously its responsibility to both protect the environment and sustainably manage our Commonwealth fisheries for the benefit of all Australians.

This letter will be made available on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ website at The government will not be responding directly to campaign correspondence arising from Environment Tasmania or affiliated websites.

Thank you for bringing your concerns to my attention.

Yours sincerely

Anne Ruston

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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