Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture Senator Richard Colbeck welcomed the news, saying it is yet another example of Australia’s world leading fisheries management.
“I am pleased to announce today that orange roughy stocks have rebuilt to a healthy level where they can be commercially fished for the first time in 10 years,” Senator Colbeck said.
“The eastern orange roughy stock was heavily fished in the late 1980s and early 1990s, leading to stock declines and longstanding fishery closures.
“Australia’s science-based fisheries management has improved since then and we have been successful in rebuilding this fishery. This is a significant achievement for our fisheries management regime.
“This year, the CSIRO Orange Roughy Eastern Zone stock assessment report confirmed that the strong action taken by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) and the fishing industry was successful and the eastern stock has rebuilt to a level that can support sustainable fishing.
“This is good news for the marine environment, seafood lovers and the Australian fishing industry. It demonstrates why Australian fisheries management is so highly regarded around the world.”
The AFMA Commission has approved a very conservative total allowable catch of 500 tonnes for the eastern stock of orange roughy for the 2015-16 season which still allows the stock to continue to rebuild.
It is expected the season for the species will commence on 1 May, following the revision of the stock rebuilding strategy and amendments to remove current fishing closures.
Recommencement of commercial fishing of the eastern stock of orange roughy will be subject to strict monitoring and enforcement measures which reflect Australia’s high standard of fisheries management.
For the commercial fishing of orange roughy this includes 100 per cent observer coverage and strict quota controls to will ensure that the stock continues to rebuild.
AFMA Commission Chair Norman Moore said great care was taken with the decision to reopen the orange roughy fishery and set the total allowable catch.
“This is an important moment for Australian fisheries management, as orange roughy has been used as an example of disaster in Australian fisheries management by anti-industry activists for some time,” Mr Moore said.
“We’ve taken the hard fisheries management decisions and are now in a position to reopen the fishery with a conservative catch limit while stocks continue to recover – this sends a resounding message about the strength of Australia’s fisheries management systems.”
The Commonwealth Fisheries Association (CFA) congratulated the Government for working together with industry to achieve this fantastic and iconic result.
Mr Anthony Ciconte Chair of CFA said: “Industry has taken some hard decisions over the years in the SESSF, taking hardship as the fishery grounds were lost, and management decisions delivered a loss of income. Today, we welcome an outcome that clearly shows how the stewardship of the industry is working exactly as it should, under a transparent process, with efficient outcomes. Australian’s can once again enjoy fresh Orange Roughy, caught in Australia by Australian fishermen, under world’s best management standards. The Australian Fisheries Management Authority’s support and willingness to persist and work with industry has paid enormous dividends to all involved, and further propels Australia’s fisheries management standards to new global highs.”