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North West Slope and the Western Deepwater Trawl Fisheries


Map of North West Slope and the Western Deepwater Trawl Fisheries - the coast of Western Australia

Estimated catch: Confidential

Stock Status of Target Species

Common name (scientific name)

Latest available status assessment

2018

2019

Fishing mortality

Biomass

Fishing mortality

Biomass

North West Slope Trawl Fishery

Scampi (Metanephrops australiensis, M. boschmai, M. velutinus)

Not subject to overfishing

Not overfished

Not subject to overfishing

Not overfished

Western Deepwater Trawl Fishery

Bugs (Ibacus spp.)

Not subject to overfishing

Uncertain

Not subject to overfishing

Uncertain

Western Deepwater Trawl Fishery

Ruby snapper (Etelis carbunculus)

Not subject to overfishing

Not overfished

Not subject to overfishing

Not overfished

Source: Patterson, H, Larcombe, J, Woodhams, J and Curtotti, R 2020, Fishery status reports 2020,S Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra. CC BY 4.0.

Management Plans/Arrangements

There is no formal management plan for the North West Slope Trawl Fishery or the Western Deepwater Trawl Fishery. The fisheries are managed by granting a limited number of fishing permits consistent with the provisions provided by the Fisheries Management Act 1991 and the Fisheries Management Regulations 1992.

There are 11 permits allowed in the Western Deepwater Trawl Fishery and seven in the North West Slope Trawl Fishery, all of which are valid for a maximum of five years. Fishers must adhere to a number of permit conditions aimed at protecting stocks and ecosystems. The permit conditions include specific gear limitations to reduce bycatch and move on provisions if fishing gear interacts with sponges or corals.

The permit conditions in both fisheries were reviewed at the end of 2018–19 and permits re-granted for a further five years.

Analysis of Performance

During the past five years, North West Slope Trawl and Western Deepwater Trawl Fisheries have experienced low but stable levels of fishing effort with modest increases recorded in 2017–18 and the 2018–19 season. The limited levels of effort are due in part to permit holders accessing more lucrative fisheries that are adjacent to the North West Slope Trawl or Western Deepwater Trawl fishery areas. Recent increases in catch have occurred in the North West Slope scampi fishery as market opportunities improve.

In December 2017 the North West Slope Trawl and the Western Deepwater Trawl fisheries were declared as approved Wildlife Trade Operations for three years until December 2020.

Stakeholders in the North West Slope and Western Deepwater Trawl fisheries met during October 2018 to consider management arrangements. Key recommendations emerging from the meeting included support for reviewing the harvest strategy and updating the statement of management arrangements. Updates to the management arrangements will be considered further during the coming year in 2020-21.

External Reviews

No external reviews were completed during 2019-20.