The Department of Fisheries invites people to comment on the issues and recommendations of this report - Draft Bycatch Action Plan for the Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery. Two versions of the draft Bycatch Action Plan for the Shark Bay managed shrimp fishery have been released for public comment. The Summary Report (Fisheries Management Paper No. 148) briefly summarizes the background information used in developing the draft Bycatch Action Plan and focuses on the objectives and actions.
Public submissions will be treated as public documents, unless specifically marked as confidential, and may be cited in whole or in part in any further report related to the management of bycatch in managed shark shrimp.
- G ENERAL
- O BJECTIVE OF P LAN
- W HAT IS B YCATCH ?
- P OLICY F RAMEWORK
As manager of the state's fishing resources, the Ministry of Fisheries has a special responsibility for leading and coordinating efforts to manage bycatch. It is expected that the final version of the Bycatch Action Plan for the Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery will meet the requirements for a management plan to be approved by Environment Australia for the purpose of defending against bycatch of a listed species. The aim of the national strategy is to protect biodiversity and maintain ecological processes and systems.
The area is proposed to be the portion of the World Heritage Site that is not part of the current or proposed expansion of the Shark Bay Marine Park.
An amended plan will then be compiled with a summary of submissions and a clear motivation of the response to each submission. This summary of submissions will be published either as part of the final plan or as a separate document.
SHARK BAY PRAWN TRAWL FISHERY
O VERVIEW OF O PERATION
- Location of Fishery
- Value of the Fishery
- Operators, Catch Rates and Species
- Operational Aspects
The shrimp trawlers in Shark Bay tow two eight-fathom otter nets overhead. Trawling tends to be concentrated in certain areas of Shark Bay and it should be emphasized that due to the amount of swept ground overlap, the actual area of the bay exposed to trawling would be much smaller than the estimated 7,300 km2. It is estimated that, in terms of area swept, this effort is concentrated in an area of approximately 2,150 km² of seabed in the Bay, representing approximately 15 to 20 percent of the water in Shark Bay (A Review of Bycatch Issues relevant to the Shark Bay Demersal Trawl Fisheries, Department of Fisheries, in preparation b).
The nets of the Shark Bay shrimp trawlers are spread out by otterboards, each weighing about 270 kg.
M ANAGEMENT R EGIME
- Gear Controls
- Seasonal Closure
- Temporary Area Closures
- Time Closures
- Crew Restrictions
The managed shrimp fishery in Shark Bay is usually closed between November and March, limiting fishing mortality of older shrimp and allowing the stock of large shrimp to build up in deeper waters in the north of the bay. Large shrimp from last year's recruitment are fished in deeper waters at the beginning of the next season, before the new season's recruiter fishing. From the beginning of the season (mid-March) until the anticipated start of recruitment of juvenile fish to the fishery (mid-April), anglers are restricted to the northern area of Shark Bay and the western bay (see Figure 4).
A closure north of the extended nursery area, designed to protect a portion of the tiger shrimp.
EXISTING ENVIRONMENT IN SHARK BAY
- C LIMATE AND O CEANOGRAPHY
- S EAGRASS
- F INFISH F AUNA
- C ORAL C OMMUNITIES
- O THER I NVERTEBRATES
- R EPTILES
- M ARINE M AMMALS
- S EABIRDS
Studies of the cetacean fauna of Shark Bay were undertaken in the late 1960s (McKay, 1970; . McKay, uncompleted manuscript), while comprehensive surveys at Monkey Mia and South Passage have been undertaken since the 1960s. The Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM) recorded the presence (and absence) of coral at survey sites within Shark Bay. Although investigations have shown that green turtles are common as residents in Shark Bay, there are no large breeding grounds for this species located in Shark Bay.
Seabird and shorebird nesting and feeding sites are widespread throughout the Shark Bay area.
OTHER FISHING ACTIVITIES IN SHARK BAY
C OMMERCIAL F ISHERIES
- Shark Bay Scallop Managed Fishery
- Shark Bay Beach Seine and Mesh Net Managed Fishery
- Shark Bay Snapper Managed Fishery
- Wetline Fishery
Although catfish are trawled, they are a different species of catfish than those caught in the Shark Bay Beach Seine and Mesh Net managed fisheries. Juvenile pink prawns are caught as bycatch in the managed Shark Bay Prawn fishery and then discarded. Pink gannets are not permitted to be retained by wet-line vessels in Shark Bay as they are subject to the managed gannet fishery in Shark Bay.
Note that crabs are kept as bycatch in the Shark Bay shrimp and scallop fishery.
R ECREATIONAL F ISHING
Statewide target species for so-called wetland anglers include Spanish mackerel, pink snapper, northwest flounder, mullet, drill emperor and sweet emperor. There are five commercial fishermen who are allowed to catch pot crabs in Shark Bay - three except in the Carnarvon Crab Pot Fishery Experimental and two other commercial fishermen. Information on species important to recreational fishers in Shark Bay was obtained from surveys and advice from the Regional Recreational Fisheries Advisory Committee (RRFAC).
The Denham RRFAC advised that the key species important to recreational fishers to be addressed by this Bycatch Action Plan are squid, blue swimmer crabs and pink snapper.
EXISTING INFORMATION ON BYCATCH
CAESS D ATA I NFORMATION
WA M USEUM T RAWL S URVEY 1997
S HARK B AY B YCATCH R EDUCTION T RIALS O BSERVER D ATA
The observation program was run concurrently with the BRD trials to record information on bycatch rates from the standard net and the BRD net being tested. Based on this observation program, the ratio of discards to target to by-product weight was estimated to be approximately 4–8:1 (note that there is a very large variability in the amounts of bycatch caught). From the formal ones described above, further experiments were carried out aimed at improving the design and operation of the BRD.
The occasional appearance of floating weeds in Shark Bay has caused an operational limitation with some BRDs, which needs to be overcome.
PRIORITISATION OF BYCATCH ISSUES
E NVIRONMENTAL I MPACT I SSUES
- Effects on Biodiversity
- Interaction with Seagrass Habitats
- Disturbance of Benthic Communities
- Mortality of Protected Species
- Wastage /Collection of Large Numbers of Small Fish
- Pink Snapper Decline in Shark Bay
- Local Depletion of Resources
Sandy Point is protected from trawling by the Shark Bay Marine Park Conservation Area. Therefore, caution should be exercised when extrapolating the results of these studies to the managed Shark Bay Prawn fishery. The effect this would have on the catch or efficiency of the Shark Bay shrimp fishery would, of course, require careful study.
In addition, the remaining valuable and/or sensitive benthic communities are likely to be outside the current functional fishing area for the Shark Bay shrimp fishery. The possibility of shortening the length of the Shark Bay shrimp season should be explored. During the BRD trials, gross estimates of the amount of bycatch compared to the shrimp catch in the managed Shark Bay shrimp fishery were made.
Based on anecdotal evidence, a large portion of bycatch discards at the Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery are small fish that are not considered to be commercially valuable. As early as the Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery, vessels generally move away from areas where large amounts of bycatch are caught. Determine the effectiveness of BRDs in reducing bycatch once implemented in the Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery.
Conclusion: Collection of bycatch information is a priority issue for bycatch management in the Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery. Design and implement a scientific observer program to begin with the implementation of BRDs in the Shark Bay Prawn managed fishery.
I NDUSTRY B ENEFIT I SSUES
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE ACTION PLAN
V ISION S TATEMENT
- Research Objectives
- Management Objectives
- Monitoring and Reporting Objectives
- Public Awareness and Education Objectives
Funding is also required to determine the distribution of fish species within and outside the Shark Bay shrimp trawl grounds, to identify any species that are not well represented outside the trawl grounds. If these animals are excluded from Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery trawl nets, the quality of the catch will improve and the biodiversity values of the area will be protected. Rationale: The impact of trawling on species diversity and habitat diversity within Shark Bay is unknown, due to a lack of information on the distribution of species and the composition of the Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery trawl catch.
Action 5a - In conjunction with Action 5b, reassess the floor limits of the Shark Bay Prawn managed trawl based on analysis of trawling effort and investigations of the distribution of fish species within and outside the trawl limits in Shark Bay (Department of fishing). Action 5d - Explore the possibility of shortening the season of the managed shrimp fishery in Shark Bay. Reducing the length of the fishing season in the Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery would reduce the amount of fishing activity that takes place in the area, thereby reducing pressure on fish habitats.
Action 6c - Ensure that new crews and skippers are aware of the obligations under the Bycatch Action Plan for the Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (Industry/Department of Fisheries). Action 8a - Ensure that the progress and outcomes of the Bycatch Action Plan are reported (Department of Fisheries). In coordination with Action 5b, reconsider the trawl ground limits, based on an analysis of trawl fishing effort and investigations of the distribution of fish species inside and outside the trawl limits within Shark Bay.
Investigate the possibility of reducing the length of the managed shrimp fishery season. To inform Western Australians and Australians about management arrangements for bycatch in managed shark prawn fisheries.
The first column of the table summarizes all the objectives and measures of the action plan. In the second column of the table, indicate whether you think the target/measure in question is appropriate. TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE QUANTITY, DIVERSITY AND IMPACT OF BY-CATCH IN THE MANAGED SHRIMP FISHERIES IN SHARK BAY TO IMPROVE MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES.
TO INFORM THE WESTERN AUSTRALIA AND AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY OF THE BY-CATCH MANAGEMENT SCHEME IN THE SHARK BAY-MANAGED FISHERIES. 12 Report of the Rock Lobster Industry Advisory Committee to the Honorable Minister of Fisheries, 24 September (1987). 59 Proceeding of the charter boat management workshop (held as part of the 1st National Fisheries Manager Conference).
82 The impact of the new management package on smaller operators in the western reef lobster fishery R. Proceedings of the National Fisheries Management Network workshop held as part of the Third Australasian Fisheries Managers' Conference. 88 Balancing the scales - Access and equity in fisheries management - Proceedings of the Third Australasian Fisheries Managers Conference, Rottnest Island, Western Australia 2 - 4 August 1995.
103 Future management of the water charter industry in Western Australia by the Tourist Fishing Operators Working Group (September 1997). A discussion paper prepared by Kevin Donohue on behalf of the Rock Lobster Industry Advisory Committee.