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New Bluefin Tuna Management Zones Implemented

by the Fish Site Editor
02 June 2011, at 1:00am

AUSTRALIA - The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has announced that Southern Bluefin Tuna management arrangements were put into place on 21 May 2011 after catches of Southern Bluefin Tuna were recorded off the east coast of New South Wales.

The first Southern Bluefin Tuna of the season has been caught just south of Eden on the east coast of New South Wales. As a result, Southern Bluefin Tuna management zones have been implemented to address the risk of Southern Bluefin Tuna being taken in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery (ETBF) without quota.

Restricted access areas comprising core and buffer zones have been created in the ETBF and operators must have a minimum quota holding of 500 kg to enter these areas. There is also a required level of observer coverage in the core and buffer zones. The cost of the observer coverage is based on the level of SBT quota held and charged by the number of shots completed plus a fixed fee for each trip.

In order to comply with the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna Catch Documentation Scheme, operators are reminded that all SBT landed must be tagged, weighed, measured and accompanied by the correct paperwork.

The first management zones of the season were implemented at 00.01 am on Saturday 21 May 2011. Currently the northern boundary of the buffer zone is located at 36°S and the northern boundary of the core zone is at 36°30’S.

The SBT management zones are reviewed fortnightly and amended where appropriate. Operators will be notified of any changes to the zones through vessel monitoring system (VMS) messages and via the Southern Bluefin Tuna web pag - http://www.afma.gov.au/managing-our-fisheries/fisheries-a-to-z-index/eastern-tuna-and-billfish-fishery/notices-and-announcements/southern-bluefin-tuna-sbt-zones-management-arrangements-for-2011/

the Fish Site Editor