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High Sea Permits

Estimated catch: 213 tonnes

Major species:

  • Redthroat emperor
  • Hapuku
  • Flame snapper
  • Sea bream snapper
  • Jackass morwong
  • Bass groper
  • Yellowtail kingfish
  • Blue-eye trevalla
  • Alfonsino
  • Orange Roughy

Management Plans/Arrangements

High Seas Permits allow Australian flagged vessels to fish for non-highly migratory species in the areas of water covered under the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) and the Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA).

High Seas Permits are granted for up to five years, with a season running from 1 January to 31 December. There are currently seven High Seas Permits. Seven vessels are permitted to fish in the SPFRMO area and six vessels are permitted to fish in the SIOFA area. The main gears used by High Seas Permit holders are midwater trawl, demersal trawl and automatic longline (demersal longline).

In 2019-20, a number of amendments to SPRFMO and SIOFA conservation and management measures (CMMs) were adopted. These amendments were implemented domestically through changes to permit conditions in May 2020. With regards to SPRFMO, some bycatch limits were reduced (CMM 03-2020 Bottom Fishing in the SPRFMO Convention Area) and the orange roughy catch limit for Westpac Bank was increased by 4 tonnes to 13 tonnes (CMM 03a-2020 Deepwater Species in the SPRFMO Convention Area). With regards to SIOFA, seabird mitigation requirements were revised to enable implementation of three seabird night setting trigger (SIOFA CMM 2019/13 Mitigation of Seabird Bycatch) and move-on provisions were added for dropline fishing (SIOFA CMM 2019/01 Interim Management of Bottom Fishing).

Analysis of Performance

High Seas Permits continue to be managed consistent with SPRFMO and SIOFA CMMs.