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2. Maximum net economic returns to the Australian community from the management of Commonwealth fisheries

PURPOSE

The Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy and Guidelines provide an essential management framework for AFMA's Commonwealth fisheries. Commonwealth fishery harvest strategies for key commercial stocks guide the setting of total allowable catches and other catch limits. By pursuing targets of maximum economic yield (or proxy), where available, there should be greater returns to the harvesting sector and the Australian community.

AFMA has also continued to develop and better understand the impacts of management policies to improve the net economic returns from Commonwealth fisheries. In 2018-19, AFMA:

  • collected economic information including trading prices of gear and statutory fishing rights reviewed Fisheries Management Paper number 5 – exploration of fish resources
  • worked with the department towards developing a Commonwealth resource sharing policy.

PERFORMANCE RESULTS

Criterion source: The performance indicators below are recorded in AFMA's chapter in the Agriculture and Water Resources 2019-20 Portfolio Budget Statements p. 233 and in AFMA's Corporate Plan for 2018-21 p. 9.

Performance criteria

2018-19

Target

Actual

2.1

For economically significant stocks1:

a) Maximise the number of key commercial stocks with harvest strategy targets based on maximum economic yield or the best available proxy2, 3

At least 15

16

b) Improve the number of stocks in (a) assessed as being on economic target2 (number of stocks)

4

4

c) For those stocks in (a) that are assessed as not on target, improve the number that are heading towards their target reference point2 (number of stocks)

6

7

2.2

Major fisheries have harvest strategies that meet the Harvest Strategy Policy 2018 (HSP2018) within 3 years (number of fisheries)

04

0

2.3

Other fisheries have harvest strategies that meet the HSP2018 within 4 years (number of fisheries)

05

0

  1. The method for estimating these KPIs was recommended by ABARES in its 2015 review of AFMA’s economic KPs. One year forecasts are based on fishery manager expertise and stock assessments. Please note that not all Commonwealth fish stocks can be managed by maximum economic yield, for example, those managed under international regional bodies.
  2. Where higher and lower value species are caught together, different targets for the lower value species may maximise net economic returns over all.
  3. Assessment methodologies are being reviewed. This may mean projections may vary.
  4. 2020–21 target = 8
  5. 2020–21 target = 4

ASSESSMENT OF PERFORMANCE AGAINST THE PURPOSE

The number of economically significant stocks with harvest strategy targets based on maximum economic yield or the best available proxy (16 stocks) was higher than the target of 15. The economically significant stocks that have maximum economic yield targets are:

  • 11 stocks – Bight redfish, Blue eye trevalla, Blue grenadier, Deepwater flathead, Eastern school whiting, Gummy shark, Orange Roughy Eastern, Pink ling-east, Pink ling-west, School shark, Tiger flathead (Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery)
  • 1 – Swordfish – east, managed by international treaty (Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery)
  • 1 – Swordfish – west, managed by international treaty (Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery)
  • 3 – Banana, Endeavour and Tiger prawns (Northern Prawn Fishery).

The economically important stocks (top 30 stocks by value) remained the same as the previous reporting period and there were no changes in the harvest strategy targets of those stocks. The four stocks “on target” are: Deepwater flathead, Eastern school whiting, Tiger flathead (all Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery) and Swordfish-east (Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery).

Furthermore, the seven stocks that were assessed as not on target but are heading towards the target is higher than the target of six. These are: Blue eye trevalla, Blue grenadier, Gummy shark, Orange roughy eastern, Pink ling-east, Pink ling-west (all Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery) and Tiger prawn (Northern Prawn Fishery).

ANALYSIS OF PERFORMANCE AGAINST THE PURPOSE

In aiming to implement harvest strategies that ensure key commercial fish species are sustainably management to maximise net economic returns to the Australian community, AFMA introduced mandatory reporting of trading prices for quota and gear Statutory Fishing Rights in July 2017. The collection of quota Statutory Fishing Rights prices and their publication will support a competitive market via transparent price signals that can increase efficiency, lead to lower transaction costs and enable AFMA to better target management of fish species.

AFMA has continued to work with stakeholders to improve the quality of reported quota prices. To this end, the Economics Working Group (EWG) has provided advice, which AFMA has implemented, on quota transfer and lease price data cleaning methods to detect/flag errors and inconsistencies.

In collaboration with the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, we also commenced an audit of available key fisheries economic data. We are developing a suite of high level economic key performance indicators to monitor the economic performance of our fisheries.

The Northern Prawn Fishery Industry group and AFMA have worked together to develop a management approach for using biological and economic indicators, relevant to the fishery, to provide ample warning of conditions that may indicate the need for structural adjustment within the Northern Prawn Fishery fleet. To ensure the Northern Prawn Fishery remains biologically and economically sustainable, the Northern Prawn Fishery industry will need to respond to agreed triggers associated with key indicators.

We are also developing indicators to monitor economic factors that are driving targeting behaviour of fishers. These indicators can help inform stock assessments where changes in catch rates are not easily standardised using normal processes.

In addition we have initiated a process to better integrate economic information into the total allowable catch setting process for the Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery to maximise the net economic returns in the fishery.

A final draft of the exploratory fishing policy (FMP 5) has been developed to provide guidance to industry and decision makers regarding access to underutilised Commonwealth fisheries resources and will be released for public comment in 2019.

AFMA and industry discussing installation of Gulper Shark Exclusion Device on South East Trawl boats Photo courtesy Georgia Langdon AFMA Media LibraryAFMA and industry discussing installation of Gulper Shark Exclusion Device on South East Trawl boats Photo courtesy Georgia Langdon AFMA Media Library