Living up to our reputation implications of fisheries management failures in the australian context
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Living up to our reputation Implications of fisheries management failures in the Australian context. Jon Nevill [email protected] School of Government University of Tasmania. OnlyOnePlanet Australia. Scientists urge fundamental change in fisheries management.

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Living up to our reputation Implications of fisheries management failures in the Australian context

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Living up to our reputation implications of fisheries management failures in the australian context

Living up to our reputationImplications of fisheries management failures in the Australian context

Jon Nevill

[email protected]

School of Government

University of Tasmania

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


Scientists urge fundamental change in fisheries management

Scientists urge fundamental change in fisheries management

Earle & Laffoley’s (2006) argue that “we must place biodiversity conservation at the center of ocean governance”.

The work of Pitcher & Pauly (1998) and Pitcher (2001) support this call in arguing that the proper goal for fisheries management should not be catch optimisation or sustainable harvests, but ecosystem rebuilding.

Mangel & Levin (2005) recommend that community ecology should be the basic science for fisheries.

onlyoneplanet.com.au


Australia s reputation

Australia’s reputation

Australia was one of the first nations to adopt bioregional ocean planning;

An Australian fishery was the first world- wide to achieve Marine Stewardship Council certification;

Australian fisheries legislation mandates application of the precautionary principle;

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


Australia s reputation1

Australia’s reputation

Australia was one of the first nations to adopt bioregional ocean planning;

An Australian fishery was the first world- wide to achieve Marine Stewardship Council certification;

Australian fisheries legislation mandates application of the precautionary principle;

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


Australia s reputation2

Australia’s reputation

Australia was one of the first nations to adopt bioregional ocean planning;

An Australian fishery was the first world- wide to achieve Marine Stewardship Council certification;

Australian fisheries legislation mandates application of the precautionary principle;

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


Australia s reputation3

Australia’s reputation

All export fisheries undergo periodic reviews under the provisions of Commonwealth legislation, using a process which appears to be transparent and accountable;

Australia is committed, at least on paper, to the establishment of a comprehensive, adequate and representative national network of marine protected areas;

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is an international icon of conservation;

Australia is committed to phasing-out destructive fishing practices by 2012.

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


Australia s reputation4

Australia’s reputation

All export fisheries undergo periodic reviews under the provisions of Commonwealth legislation, using a process which appears to be transparent and accountable;

Australia is committed, at least on paper, to the establishment of a comprehensive, adequate and representative national network of marine protected areas;

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is an international icon of conservation;

Australia is committed to phasing-out destructive fishing practices by 2012.

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


Australia s reputation5

Australia’s reputation

All export fisheries undergo periodic reviews under the provisions of Commonwealth legislation, using a process which appears to be transparent and accountable;

Australia is committed, at least on paper, to the establishment of a comprehensive, adequate and representative national network of marine protected areas;

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is an international icon of conservation.

Australia is committed to phasing-out destructive fishing practices by 2012.

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


Australia s reputation6

Australia’s reputation

All export fisheries undergo periodic reviews under the provisions of Commonwealth legislation, using a process which appears to be transparent and accountable;

Australia is committed, at least on paper, to the establishment of a comprehensive, adequate and representative national network of marine protected areas;

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is an international icon of conservation.

Australia is committed to phasing-out destructive fishing practices by 2012.

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


Australia s reputation7

Australia’s reputation

On paper, Australia’s strategic marine planning appears impressive.

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


On closer inspection

On closer inspection…

The national marine protected area network;

The Commonwealth’s strategic fishery accreditation program;

Application of the precautionary principle; and

Destructive fishing practices in Australia.

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


Two issues paper parks little or no protection inadequate extent of protection

A comprehensive, adequate and representative national network of marine protected areasANZECC Task Force on Marine Protected Areas (1999) Strategic plan of action for the national representative system of marine protected areas: a guide for action by Australian governments (including guidelines for establishing the national representative system of marine protected areas), Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council, Canberra.

Two issues:

Paper parks – little or no protection

Inadequate extent of protection

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


Paper parks little or no effective protection

Paper parks – little or no effective protection

Two examples:

1. Commonwealth SE Region – MPAs of all (IUCN) categories cover 5.5% of the region – but most MPA areas are zoned to allow fishing (IUCN category 6)– a critical threat.

Only 0.75% of the region’s continental shelf is zoned in no-take areas.

2. Tasmanian Bruny Bioregion MPAs (announced late 2008) – all the new MPAs will allow fishing (IUCN category 6).

The Tasmanian Government does not know (or does not reveal) the proportion of marine habitats protected by no-take.

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


Inadequate extent of protection

Inadequate extent of protection

Through its participation in the CBD CoP process, Australia is committed to

(a) establish a national network of marine protected areas by 2012, and

(b)protect at least 10% of every marine ecoregion.

This last commitment is usually interpreted to include ecosystems and habitats, with vulnerable and/or rare habitats receiving much greater levels of protection.

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


Inadequate extent of protection1

Inadequate extent of protection

Examples

SE Region – only 5.5% of the region is included in MPAs of all categories – a much smaller proportion is covered by no-take areas

Victoria – only 5.3% of Victorian marine waters are protected, however almost all of these areas are no-take.

Tasmania – State government appears unable to supply a figure, but no-take areas in the State are generally very small.

Queensland – coral habitats are reasonably well protected within the GBRMP, but elsewhere on the continental shelf off Qld they are not well protected. Overall about 10% of shelf coral habitats are within no-take zones – inadequate for a vulnerable habitat type. (Source GA)

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


The commonwealth s strategic fishery accreditation program

The Commonwealth’s strategic fishery accreditation program

Under the provisions of the EPBC Act, every export fishery, and every Commonwealth fishery, must be assessed against designated ‘sustainability guidelines’. Fisheries are accredited for a period of 5 years, usually on conditions aimed at promoting continual improvement.

1. How good are the guidelines?

2. Is the level of documentation adequate?

3. Does the accreditation result adequately reflect the environmental issues of the fishery?

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


The commonwealth s strategic fishery accreditation program1

The Commonwealth’s strategic fishery accreditation program

1. How good are the guidelines?

Draft guideline 3.1 (1999)

The fishery shall be subject to institutional arrangements that are in accordance with Australian laws and standards and which give effect to the principles of international agreements relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine living resources, including the precautionary approach to management.

Final guideline 3.1 (2000)

The management regime must comply with any relevant international or regional management regime to which Australia is a party. Compliance with the international or regional regime does not mean Australia cannot place upon the management of the Australian component of the fishery management controls that are more stringent than those required through the international or regional regime.

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


The commonwealth s strategic fishery accreditation program2

The Commonwealth’s strategic fishery accreditation program

1. How good are the guidelines?

Draft guideline 3.1 (1999)

The fishery shall be subject to institutional arrangements that are in accordance with Australian laws and standards and which give effect to the principles of international agreements relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine living resources, including the precautionary approach to management.

Final guideline 3.1 (2000)

The management regime must comply with any relevant international or regional management regime to which Australia is a party. Compliance with the international or regional regime does not mean Australia cannot place upon the management of the Australian component of the fishery management controls that are more stringent than those required through the international or regional regime.

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


The commonwealth s strategic fishery accreditation program3

The Commonwealth’s strategic fishery accreditation program

2. Is the level of documentation adequate?

Orange roughy SESSF re-accreditation report (AFMA 2006)

Although Australia was required (under an AU/NZ MoU) to send observers on each vessel operating on the South Tasman Rise in 1998-99, the AFMA report contains NO information on their bycatch reports. Coral bycatch was a critical issue for the fishery. In fact, no bycatch results are referenced or summarised.

Northern prawn re-accreditation report (AFMA 2008)

Although bycatch impacts are a critical issue for the fishery, the AFMA report entirely failed to reference or summarise reports detailing temporal and spatial variation in bycatch/catch ratios – vital information in relation to developing bycatch reduction strategies.

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


The commonwealth s strategic fishery accreditation program4

The Commonwealth’s strategic fishery accreditation program

2. Is the level of documentation adequate?

Orange roughy SESSF re-accreditation report (AFMA 2006)

Although Australia was required (under an AU/NZ MoU) to send observers on each vessel operating on the South Tasman Rise in 1998-99, the AFMA report contains NO information on their bycatch reports. Coral bycatch was a critical issue for the fishery. In fact, no bycatch results are referenced or summarised.

Northern prawn re-accreditation report (AFMA 2008)

Although bycatch impacts are a critical issue for the fishery, the AFMA report entirely failed to reference or summarise reports detailing temporal and spatial variation in bycatch/catch ratios – vital information in relation to developing bycatch reduction strategies.

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


The commonwealth s strategic fishery accreditation program5

The Commonwealth’s strategic fishery accreditation program

3. Does the accreditation result adequately reflect the environmental issues of the fishery?

Orange roughy SESSF accreditation report (AFMA 2002)

At the time the AFMA report was prepared, all but one of Australia’s orange roughy stocks were in severe decline. However, AFMA provided false and misleading information in the report which had the effect of under-playing this crisis.

Information in the report demonstrated that the orange roughy fishery met only 3 of the 28 Commonwealth sustainability guidelines. Many of the ‘missing’ guidelines were not discussed.

AFMA failed to produce information on the extent of trawler damage to orange roughy habitats. Much of this damage was severe and effectively irreparable.

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


The commonwealth s strategic fishery accreditation program6

The Commonwealth’s strategic fishery accreditation program

3. Does the accreditation result adequately reflect the environmental issues of the fisher?

Orange roughy SESSF accreditation report (AFMA 2002)

What did the minister (D Kemp) say when he accredited the fishery?

“I am satisfied that AFMA has provided a report that adequately addresses the current and likely impacts of activities taken in accordance with the management plan…

I am satisfied that actions taken in accordance with the management plan are unlikely to have unacceptable or unsustainable impacts on the environment in a Commonwealth marine area.

I am also satisfied that [the fishery] is unlikely to be detrimental to the survival or conservation status of any taxon, or threaten any relevant ecosystem, to which the fishery relates.” (David Kemp, 2003)

Three years later, the orange roughy became the first commercial fish listed under Australian threatened species legislation.

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


Application of the precautionary principle

Application of the precautionary principle

Many definitions of the precautionary principle exist.

A general definition:

Where there is the threat of serious or irreversible harm, lack of scientific certainty should not deter action by decision-makers to prevent or mitigate such harm.

Two key elements: the existence of uncertainty, and the possibility of harm.

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


Application of the precautionary principle1

Application of the precautionary principle

Australia committed itself to apply the precautionary approach to natural resource management in 1982, and this commitment was reinforced by Australia’s support for the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, and later the UN Fish Stocks Agreement 1995.

Commonwealth fisheries legislation was amended in 1997 – fifteen years after the initial commitment – to require application of the precautionary principle to Commonwealth fisheries.

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


Application of the precautionary principle2

Application of the precautionary principle

Annex II of the UN Fish Stocks Agreement (UNFSA) provides guidelines on the application of the precautionary approach.

According to the Annex, Fmsy should be used as a limit reference point not a target reference point.

At the South Tasman Rise, AFMA initially used 20%Bo as a limit reference point – in apparent violation of responsibilities under the UNFSA. When this limit point was breached, AFMA abandoned the reference point, and allowed fishing to continue, again breaching the requirements of the UNFSA.

FSA Annex II Article 7: “The fishing mortality rate which generates maximum sustainable yield should be regarded as a minimum standard for limit reference points… and that stock biomass should not fall below a predefined threshold…”

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


Application of the precautionary principle3

Application of the precautionary principle

AFMA (2002:184) in discussing setting orange roughy total allowable catch limits, state that:

..“current TACs for the southern and eastern sectors are considered precautionary using the best available scientific advice and have a good chance of meeting the recovery strategy.”

The TACs referred to were 1600 tonne for the eastern stock and 420 tonne for the southern stock.

The CSIRO stock assessment (Wayte & Bax 2002) which had been commissioned by AFMA, had recommended a total allowable catch of zero for the eastern stock and zero for the southern stock. The stock assessment report had also pointed out that there was absolutely no chance of either stock meeting the recovery strategy.

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


Application of the precautionary principle4

Application of the precautionary principle

..“current TACs for the southern and eastern sectors are considered precautionary using the best available scientific advice and have a good chance of meeting the recovery strategy.”

How could you explain this statement? - dishonesty? incompetence?

What does it say about AFMA’s regard for the precautionary principle?

False and misleading...

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


Destructive fishing practices in australia

Destructive fishing practices in Australia

In 1995, on endorsement of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, Australia committed itself to phase out destructive fishing practices.

Many destructive fishing practices existed at that time within Australian jurisdictions – and today destructive fishing practices continue under both Commonwealth and State regulation.

For example, no action was taken to halt the practice of shark finning until 2000, and it was not until 2005 that this practice was prohibited within all Australian fisheries.

AFMA took no action until late 2006 to protect deepsea ecosystems from the effects of bottom trawling, apart from the establishment of small exclusion zones. Even when a temporary ban on bottom trawling below 700 m was put in place, the orange roughy fishery was exempted.

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


Destructive fishing practices in australia1

Destructive fishing practices in Australia

  • In 2002, through the Johannesburg Implementation Statement, Australia committed itself to a deadline – 2012 – to phase out destructive fishing practices.

  • Destructive fishing practices which continue under regulation in Australia include (in my view):

  • Commercial fisheries with excessive bycatch, such as prawn trawling and gillnetting;

  • Bottom trawling over vulnerable habitats – a precautionary approach would see a blanket ban on bottom trawling except in areas which had been studied and assessed as suitable.

  • Beach seining – due to the high mortality rate of juveniles;

  • Recreational activities such as gillnetting (still permitted in Tas. and WA) and spearfishing on SCUBA (still permitted in Vic, WA and Tas).

  • Serial overfishing – loss of ecosystem function & genetic resources.

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


Destructive fishing practices in australia2

Destructive fishing practices in Australia

So far, no Australian fisheries management agency, State or Commonwealth, has prepared a policy or program to chart a course to meeting the 2012 phase-out deadline.

Forward planning is essential to provide a period of say 5 or 10 years over which commercial operations, now legitimately using certain destructive fishing practices, can be phased out without undue hardship.

Compensation packages will nevertheless remain necessary in some circumstances, and governments must budget accordingly.

OnlyOnePlanet Australia


Summary the findings of my case studies

Summary:the findings of my case studies…

1. Australia’s developing national marine protected area network is failing to meet important national and international commitments;

2. The Commonwealth’s strategic fishery accreditation program’s integrity is seriously compromised on several fronts;

3. Fisheries management agencies display lip-service to the precautionary principle, but avoid applying it in any effective way; and

4. Destructive fishing practices in Australia are not being effectively addressed, in spite of an impending international phase-out deadline.

onlyoneplanet.com.au


Summary

Summary:

Australia is not living up to the nation’s reputation for progressive marine management.

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Fisheries management failures why

Fisheries management failures: why?

In my view these failures should not be unexpected from organizational cultures focussed on fishing (rather than on the protection of marine ecosystems and the services which they provide).

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Fisheries management failures what s in a name

Fisheries management failures: what’s in a name?

Victoria, Australia:

1890 – two new statutes: Game Act 1890 – to promote the hunting of game;Fisheries Act 1890 – to promote fisheries.

1975 – the Game Act 1958 was replaced by the Wildlife Act 1975; 1995 – the Fisheries Act 1958 was replaced by the Fisheries Act 1995.

In the terrestrial environment, the initial focus on harvesting was transformed into a focus on conservation. This metamorphosis has not occurred in the marine environment.

onlyoneplanet.com.au


Fisheries management failures what s in a name1

Fisheries management failures: what’s in a name?

1890 Department of Fisheries and Game

Department of National Parks and Wildlife

Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands

Department of Sustainability and the Environment

Department of Fisheries

Department of Fisheries

Department of Primary Industries

onlyoneplanet.com.au


The future for fisheries

The future for fisheries

The coming decades may see changes in line with Earle & Laffoley’s (2006) who argued that “we must place biodiversity conservation at the center of ocean governance”.

The work of Pitcher & Pauly (1998) and Pitcher (2001) support this call in arguing that the proper goal for fisheries management should not be catch optimisation or sustainable harvests, but ecosystem rebuilding.

Mangel & Levin (2005) recommend that community ecology should be the basic science for fisheries.

onlyoneplanet.com.au


The future for fisheries1

The future for fisheries

Pikitch et al. (2004) recommend that “the framework of fishery management must be broadened to include environmental effects, food web interactions and the impacts of fishing on ecosystems”.

Worm et al. (2007) emphasize “that the protection and restoration of biodiversity must be a cornerstone of any rational management regime.” 

Walker & Salt (2006) argue that protecting ecosystem resilience must be the primary goal of all natural resource management.

onlyoneplanet.com.au


The future for fisheries2

The future for fisheries

Fisheries management agencies need to be replaced with asset management agencies, focused on the protection of marine biodiversity assets – and the maintenance of the ecosystem services which they produce

– not least of which, of course, is the production of food.

Acknowledgements:

University of Tasmania (funding) and A/Prof Marcus Haward (PhD supervisor), plus many others…

Powerpoint and transcript available at onlyoneplanet.com.au


Benchmarking benchmark elements precaution

Benchmarking: benchmark elements - precaution

Table 7.2 Benchmarks for the precautionary approach:

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Benchmarking benchmark elements the ecosystem approach

Benchmarking: benchmark elements – the ecosystem approach

Table 8.4 Benchmarks for the ecosystem approach:

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Benchmarking ccamlr s krill fishery

CCAMLR krill fishery

Benchmark 1

Benchmark 6

Benchmark 2

Benchmark 5

Benchmark 3

Precaution

Benchmark 4

EBFM

Benchmarking: CCAMLR’s krill fishery

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Benchmarking the northern prawn trawl fishery

Northern Prawn Trawl Fishery

Benchmark 1

Benchmark 6

Benchmark 2

Benchmark 5

Benchmark 3

Precaution

Benchmark 4

EBFM

Benchmarking: the northern prawn trawl fishery

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Benchmarking australia s orange roughy fishery

Australia's orange roughy fishery

Benchmark 1

Benchmark 6

Benchmark 2

Benchmark 5

Benchmark 3

Precaution

Benchmark 4

EBFM

Benchmarking: Australia’s orange roughy fishery

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Benchmarking south australia s abalone fishery

South Australian abalone fishery

Benchmark 1

Benchmark 6

Benchmark 2

Benchmark 5

Benchmark 3

Precaution

Benchmark 4

EBFM

Benchmarking: South Australia’s abalone fishery

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Benchmarking wa s western rock lobster fishery

WA western rock lobster fishery

Benchmark 1

Benchmark 6

Benchmark 2

Benchmark 5

Benchmark 3

Precaution

Benchmark 4

EBFM

Benchmarking: WA’s western rock lobster fishery

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Benchmarking victoria s recreational spear fishery

Victoria's recreational spearfishery

Benchmark 1

Benchmark 6

Benchmark 2

Benchmark 5

Benchmark 3

Precaution

Benchmark 4

EBFM

Benchmarking: Victoria’s recreational spear fishery

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Benchmarking tasmania s recreational gillnet fishery

Tasmania's recreational gillnet fishery

Benchmark 1

Benchmark 6

Benchmark 2

Benchmark 5

Benchmark 3

Precaution

Benchmark 4

EBFM

Benchmarking: Tasmania’s recreational gillnet fishery

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