Australian Marine Parks

These projects aim to improve the long-term sustainability of fishing in ways that support the objectives of Australian Marine Parks.

Supporting environmental stewardship in recreational fishers

Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation Limited – $665,345

We are a country that loves to fish: more than 3.5 million Australians fish recreationally and their role as environmental stewards is increasingly being recognised. To promote this role and better access the huge body of marine knowledge held by recreational fishers, the Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation are developing an innovative citizen science app.

This app will encourage fishers to share information about fishing behaviour and catch information when they’re on the water and in Australian Marine Parks. From their mobile phones, fishers will be able to log what species they’re catching and where, along with data and photos of individual fish.

This information will help marine park managers understand how fishers are using and benefiting from Australian Marine Parks, and provide environmental data.

Using this app will offers fishers an easy to get involved with caring for, and managing, Australia’s marine environment.

Boosting sustainability and fishing business viability in the Great Australian Bight

Great Australian Bight Fishing Industry Association Inc. – $282,418

Across the Great Australian Bight, an important trawl fishery operates along the continental shelf and out into deeper waters. This fishery targets a range of species including deepwater flathead, bight redfish and blue grenadier and catches also often include species like ocean jacket, angel shark and jackass morwong.

In this project, the Great Australian Bight Fishing Industry Association will promote five currently caught species that are considered to be either undervalued or underutilised.

Working with stakeholders along the entire supply chain, from fishers and processors to retailers and the consumer, this project will help the industry better understand the current market, consumer needs and expectations, identify new market opportunities and develop product quality standards. Drawing on this information, a new marketing strategy and implementation plan will be developed, providing a boost to all businesses involved in the Great Australian Bight Trawl Sector.

This work will support the long-term sustainability of the fishery and complement the management objectives of Australian Marine Parks within the South-west Marine Parks Network.

Reducing ecosystem impacts in the Northern Territory Prawn Fishery

NPF Industry Pty Ltd – $112,221

Operating across the Top End, including within Australian Marine Parks, northern prawn fishers spend 3 to 4 months at sea catching Banana and Tiger prawns. Their catch makes its way onto dinner plates around Australia and beyond, playing an important role in the local and national economy. Typically, these prawns are caught in trawl nets that are towed behind the boat.

To reduce environmental impacts and improve sustainability, the nets are fitted with various modifications (e.g., escape grids) or devices (e.g., turtle excluders) that allow non-target species to escape. Sawfish, however, are one very special Territorian resident that needs special attention! Sawfish are characterised by a long, saw-like snout which makes it difficult for them to escape from nets.

Through this project, the Northern Prawn Fishery will work to with its members to deploy net cameras to record sawfish-net interactions – this information will be used to further refine trawl nets or modify fishing methods, with a view to reducing bycatch impacts on threatened species of sawfish in the North and North-west Marine Parks Networks.

Strengthening sustainability in the Northern Territory seafood industry

Northern Territory Seafood Council Inc – $423,705

The commercial fishing industry plays an important role in the Northern Territory, creating jobs, boosting regional economies and supporting a great way of life.

Building on earlier engagement work with the community, the Northern Territory Seafood Council has identified a need to strengthen the industry’s role in sustainability and marine environmental stewardship.

In this project, the Council will work with its members across 15 different wild harvest and aquaculture fisheries to develop a sustainability strategy for the Territory’s seafood industry. Identifying strategic, industry-wide objectives and fostering a proactive approach, the strategy will increase engagement in sustainability initiatives across the sector and help promote best-practice fishing methods.

These activities will complement the management objectives of Australian Marine Parks in the North marine region and guide the development of emerging fisheries opportunities.

Fostering industry-led innovation to reduce humpback whale interactions

Professional Fishermen’s Association Inc. – $250,000

Humpback whales migrate along Australia’s east coast as they move between their Antarctic feeding grounds and sub-tropical breeding grounds: they are a recognised value of Australian Marine Parks in this area. Encouragingly, whale numbers are increasing but this does bring an increased risk of interaction, and possible entanglement, with fishing gear.

Building on a previous collaboration, the Professional Fishermen’s Association will work with marine users, particularly fishers in the New South Wales Ocean Trap & Line Fishery, to explore ways of addressing this growing risk.

This project will include trialling new fishing gear, developing and promoting the adoption of a best-practice code of conduct, and encouraging fishers to report whale sightings via an independent app.

Through this work, marine users be better equipped to minimise their environmental impacts and support the biodiversity and sustainable use management objectives of Australian Marine Parks.

Demonstrating fisheries sustainability in New South Wales

Professional Fishermen’s Association Inc – $626,000

The waters off New South Wales support a vibrant fishing industry, with more than 1000 commercial fishers operating in State and Commonwealth waters, including Australian Marine Parks.

In this project, the Professional Fishermen’s Association will work with its members and industry stakeholders evaluate sustainability in 15 key fisheries using international Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) criteria.

This process will identify fisheries that are suitable to undergo a full MSC assessment: these assessments are undertaken by independent MSC auditors but the Association will initiate the process and provide ongoing liaison support for relevant stakeholders.

Demonstrating the sustainability of NSW fisheries will help raise awareness of Australia’s world-class fisheries management and the interdependency of these fisheries on healthy and resilient marine ecosystems, supported by the management of the Temperate East Marine Parks Network.

Understanding the Australian Seafood Industry

Seafood Industry Australia Ltd – $313,800

Australians love seafood and our commercial fishing industry makes a significant contribution to our economy. The seafood industry is committed to working alongside fisheries and marine park managers to care for Australia’s oceans and strengthen long-term sustainability and environmentally responsibility across the industry.

Led by Seafood Industry Australia, this project will investigate how to measure and report on that commitment, with a view to creating a national report card. This information will help producers promote their role in supporting the management of Australia’s oceans and consumers make informed, sustainable seafood choices.

Project tasks will include the development of national scoring criteria and a survey of community attitudes and perceptions.

Minimising the impacts of Drift and Distance on high protection zones

Tuna Australia Ltd – $446,745

Australian tuna are typically caught on longline – a gear type that consists of a long fishing line with regular hooks, attached via shorter branching lines. Reaching lengths of up to 75 km, they are set at sea and drift with the winds, currents and tides: vessels track their gear using radio beacons.

Longlining is not allowed in some Australian Marine Park zones and fishers are required to proactively anticipate the track of their longline to avoid accidental drift into these areas.

Using satellite telemetry data and GPS longline beacons, Tuna Australia will work with their members to improve drift prediction methods. This will enable fishers to set their gear with greater confidence and support sustainable fishing that is consistent with Australian Marine Park zoning and management objectives.

Sustainability certification for Australian caught tuna

Tuna Australia Ltd – $506,465

The Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery (ETBF) is one of Australia’s largest tuna fisheries, extending across the Coral Sea Marine Park and the Temperate East, South-east and South-west Marine Park Networks.

This fishery targets three tuna species, Albacore, Bigeye and Yellowfin, key oceanic predators and important species in Australian Marine Park pelagic communities.

This funding will help support ETBF fishers work towards achieving sustainability certification with recognised industry leaders like the Marine Stewardship Council, consistent with actions outlined under the tourism and visitor experience program in Australian Marine Park management plans.

This work will help raise awareness of Australia’s world-class fisheries management, the interdependency of these fisheries on healthy and resilient marine ecosystems, and emphasise the important role we all can play in supporting our thriving ocean economy.

Increasing the value of current commercial catches

Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) – $50,000

The West Australian Fishing Industry Council will consider the potential value of developing a multi-species fish processing facility that could handle a range of commercially targeted species caught across South-western waters, including within Australian Marine Parks.

The facility would add value to existing catches such as by incorporating additional processing steps to produce higher value, ready-to-retail products such as marinated fillets or burgers.

This project will explore the value and feasibility of such a venture and lay the foundation for seeking further infrastructure and project funding. A value-add processing facility has the potential to bring a significant regional economic boost.

Supporting industry transition in West Australia’s temperate shark fisheries

Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) – $423,300

The Temperate Demersal Gillnet & Demersal Longline Fishery in Western Australia is currently undergoing a transition as a result of both Western Australian Fishery management changes and the coming into effect of new Australian Marine Park management arrangements off the Western Australian coast.

To assist in transition the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council has received funding to investigate the use of new gear technology and practices that will result in more sustainable fishing practices within and outside Australian Marine Parks and improved long-term economic outcomes for the fishery.

As part of this work, they will seek to answers questions like “How will it affect my fishing efficiency?”, “How will my catch composition change?” and “Will my environmental impacts change?” Having this type of information available will improve the efficiency of gear transition.

Reducing fishing gear impacts in West Australia’s temperate shark fisheries

Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) – $900,000

The Temperate Demersal Gillnet & Demersal Longline Fishery in Western Australia is currently undergoing a transition and fishers targeting shark species may be encouraged to transition away from the use of gillnet. This change will help reduce environmental impacts and support recent Australian Marine Park zoning and rule changes in the South-west marine region as well as the long-term economic sustainability of the fishery.

In this project, the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council will work with relevant licensees, providing direct financial assistance and leveraging industry co-investment to help them purchase new equipment and make necessary vessel modifications.