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Skipper John Moore of Narooma Fishing Charters encountered the factory trawler off Tuross in August.The controversial super trawler, Geelong Star, would be “held accountable” to a voluntary undertaking to avoid major game fishing tournaments, the Small Pelagic Fishery Industry Association said today.
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This would include major tournaments at Kiama, Ulladulla, Batemans Bay, Bermagui, Merimbula and Eden, as well as other competitions in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, the SPFIA said.

It has also agreed to not come within 20 nautical miles of Eden during the week before and during the three-day EdenWhale Festival.

According to the SPFIA, the Geelong Star would be monitored by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, the Australian government agency responsible for the efficient management and sustainable use of Commonwealth fish resources..

SPFIA chairman Grahame Turk said the voluntary undertaking was a significant concession and it followed constructive discussions between the recreational fishing sector and the operators of the Geelong Star.

“Voluntarily, the operators of the vessel have agreed to forego months of fishing opportunity in areas they would otherwise be permitted to fish,” Mr Turk said.

“This agreement will be voluntarily monitored by AFMA and reported on at the end of each quarter.

“AFMA has its own positional transponder, cameras and an observer on the vessel at all times, so AFMA is in the best position to monitor this voluntary agreement,” he said.

AFMA monitoring had revealed that the Geelong Star had fished within 20 nautical miles of Bermagui on May 13, 2016, one day before the Canberra Game Fishing Club Annual Yellowfin Tournament, he said.

“The operators acknowledge this was a breach of the agreement, and have taken action to ensure the coordinates of all tournament locations are loaded into the vessel’s navigation system and the skipper is made aware of tournament dates,” he said.

“By asking AFMA to publish this data the operators are asking to be held accountable.”

In addition to avoiding popular recreational fishing areas in peak times, the operators of the Geelong Star also undertook to report data on game fish bycatch.

This was is additional data beyond that published by the Department of Environment in respect of protected species bycatch and other bycatch published by AFMA.

Mr Turk said game fishing tournaments so far this year had been “hugely successful”, with large numbers of fish around and several record catches.

“All the science indicates the Geelong Star has minimal, if any, impact on gamefish species or the abundance of their feed, but we recognise that concerns exist and we have made this offer in the interest of building a harmonious relationship into the future,” he said.

He thanked the AFMA for agreeing to take on this additional reporting role in the interests of transparency and responsiveness to the concerns of recreational fishers”

Mr Turk said the Geelong Star has made significant investments in technology and adapting its fishing plans and methods to limit interactions with non-target species.

The vessel has now fished for 16 months without harming any dolphins, he said.

Geelong Star’s offer was made following consultation with recreational fishing peak bodies and respected recreational fishing experts in 2015 and early 2016.

Full details of the agreement, and the first annual and most recent quarterly monitoring report can be found on the AFMA website:http://梧桐夜网afma.gov419论坛/fisheries/small-pelagic-fishery/seafish-tasmania-voluntary-offer/

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


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