Tuna longliners and sea birds

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Tuna longliners and sea birds
From: "Graham" <>
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 2002 13:19:10 +1100
G'day birders,
                    the issue of bird by-catch from longlining has been
mentioned on several occasions on the list so I though I'd do some research
of my own. I contacted a ex-workmate who is now a fishery manager for NSW
Fisheries. He informs me that the tuna fishery is managed by AFMA
(Australian Fisheries Management Authority,, which I assume
is because it is beyond the 12 mile limit.

The site contain some broad information on the issue and measures to reduce
by-catch, but gives no information on compliance or any changes in numbers
of bird killed.

Another intersting point is that there is now a requirement for export
fisheries to meet Environment Australia Guidelines to continue to export
after 2003.

Below is a copy of the Threat Abatement Plan, which gives an outline of
control measures being implimented. I understand that the requirement to set
lines before sunrise is now widely used. It should also be noted, as in the
article posted by Laurie & Leanne Knight, that reduction of by-catch is
accepted by most, if not all, commercial fishers as a positive outcome.

"29 March 2001
Threat Abatement Plan (TAP)

                   Due to delays in the commencement of the underwater
setting device trials there is now uncertainty surrounding whether or not
this trial will continue as planned. If the trial does not proceed then AFMA
will be required to implement broader observer program as originally
outlined under the TAP.

Operators are reminded that the new regulations under the TAP are now in
force including the requirement for night setting south of 30°S. Operators
can apply to AFMA for exemptions from night setting provided they can
demonstrate alternate means of minimising interactions with
seabirds.Exemptions will be administered under scientific permits and may
need to be include observer  monitoring.

                   The TAP originally recommended that a prescribed line
weighting prescription be included in regulation
 as an alternative to night setting. A mandatory prescription was not
favoured by industry because of the safety risks associated with weighted
branchlines and for this reason AFMA did not include this option explicitly
in regulation. Operators who wish to use branchline weights may apply to
AFMA for an exemption to night setting based around a line weighting

Just on a personal note, having worked with very light weight longlines, the
addition of weights, as mentioned in the last paragraph, has some very
serious safety implications.

Graham Turner

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