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Revised Australian Bycatch Policy Needed, Report Shows

Sustainability Economics Politics +4 more

AUSTRALIA - In March 2012, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, announced two separate but coordinated reviews of the Commonwealth Harvest Strategy Policy and the Bycatch Policy.

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The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) has now released separate reports on these policy reviews.

Overall the Harvest Strategy Policy review found that the policy is widely regarded as a very successful initiative for improving the management of Commonwealth fisheries and that it remains a strong foundation for Commonwealth fisheries management. The review also found that the policy and guidelines meet or exceed the standards of relevant international obligations and continue to represent best practice.

The key outcomes of the Commonwealth Bycatch Policy review include recommending a revised bycatch policy with new objectives and principles, and an improved definition for bycatch.

The review reports and their conclusions are the outcomes of review processes conducted by DAFF with the assistance of relevant government and non-government organisations and stakeholders. As such they do not currently reflect government policy.

The reviews have drawn on scientific and economic research undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), CSIRO and the University of Wollongong. These supporting technical reports will be accessible from the website shortly.

These reviews are also consistent with the Review of Fisheries Management undertaken by Mr David Borthwick AO PSM, who acknowledged they were ongoing at the time of finalising his report.

The Harvest Strategy policy and Bycatch policy reviews are intended to inform the revision and update of the Commonwealth’s Harvest Strategy Policy and Bycatch Policy. Revised policy statements will be a matter for further public consultation and the current policies will continue to apply until any updated policies are endorsed.

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