Response to the Australian Marine Conservation Society and the Humane Society International

1 April 2021

Mr Darren Kindleysides  
Australian Marine Conservation Society
PO Box 5815

Ms Erica Martin
Humane Society International
PO Box 439

Dear Mr Kindleysides and Ms Martin

I understand that the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) and Humane Society International (HSI) recently began a campaign claiming that the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF) is driving threatened endemic species of sharks and rays to extinction.

The Australian Government, through the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), implements a range of management measures to mitigate fishing impacts on non-targeted shark and ray species, including:

  • closing some areas to fishing and prohibiting the take of certain shark species, including grenneye spurdog in the SESSF
  • monitoring fishing operations through independent observers or electronic monitoring
  • supporting research on bycatch reduction devices in trawl nets to identify potential mitigation measures, and
  • developing shark and ray handling practices and identification guides in collaboration with leading experts and industry.

AFMA takes an ecosystem-based approach to manage fisheries. AFMA contracts the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to undertake Ecological Risk Assessments (ERAs) to identify species and habitats that may be at risk from the impact of different types of fishing activity. These ERAs are informed by comprehensive fishery data, including fisher-reported logbooks and independent scientific observer coverage.

AFMA has recently updated the ERAs for the Commonwealth trawl and shark gillnet methods in the SESSF. I understand that the final ERAs are expected to be published in mid-2021.

The Australian Government remains committed to protecting the environment and to sustainably managing our Commonwealth fisheries for the enjoyment of all Australians into the future. I am confident that AFMA’s robust management framework, which includes measures to minimise impacts on non-target sharks and rays in the SESSF, means that our Commonwealth fisheries are managed in an ecological sustainable manner consistent with international best practice.

This letter will be made available on the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s website. The government will not be responding directly to campaign correspondence arising from the Australian Marine Conservation Society, Humane Society International or affiliated websites.

Yours sincerely
Jonno Duniam

Last reviewed: 1 July 2021
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