Threat Abatement Plan 2014 for the incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations

Link to law: https://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2014L01196

Subscribe to a Global-Regulation Premium Membership Today!

Key Benefits:

Subscribe Now
Commonwealth of Australia
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth)
Section 279
Variation of a Threat Abatement Plan
I, GREG HUNT, Minister for the Environment, under section 279 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth), having reviewed the Threat Abatement Plan 2006 for the incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations, which was registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments on 16 October 2006, have decided to vary that threat abatement plan by replacing it with a revised threat abatement plan for the key threatening process as specified below:
Key Threatening Process
Threat Abatement Plan

The incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations
Department of the Environment (2014). Threat Abatement Plan 2014 for the incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations

The Threat Abatement Plan 2014 for the incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations will come into force on the day after the plan is registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.
The Plan is available electronically from the Australian Government Department of the Environment’s website at: http://www.environment.gov.au. Copies of the Plan can also be requested from the Department’s Community Information Unit (ciu@environment.gov.au); or by post to the Australian Government Department of the Environment, GPO Box 787, Canberra ACT 2601 or by telephone on 1800 803 772.
Dated this     14th           day of     August   2014.
 
Greg Hunt
Minister for the Environment
 
 
 
 
 
 
Threat Abatement Plan 2014
for the incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations
 
 
 
 
 
 
August 2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
Department of the Environment
ISBN: 978-1876934231 (Pbk)
ISBN: 978-1876934248 (Pdf)
 
This publication is available on the internet at:
http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/tap-approved.html
 
It is also available be emailing the Department of the Environment at cui@environment.gov.au or freecall 1800 803 772.
 
This plan should be cited as: Commonwealth of Australia (2014). Threat Abatement Plan 2014 for the incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations, Department of the Environment, Canberra.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
© Commonwealth of Australia 2014
This work is copyright. You may download, display, print and reproduce this material in unaltered form only (retaining this notice) for your personal, non-commercial use or use within your organisation. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all other rights are reserved. Requests and enquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to Department of the Environment, Public Affairs, GPO Box 787, Canberra ACT 2601 or email public.affairs@environment.gov.au.
 
Disclaimer
The contents of this document have been compiled using a range of source materials and are valid as at July 2014. The Australian Government is not liable for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of or reliance on the contents of the document.
 
Contents
Summary  1
Introduction  2
Threat abatement plans  2
Background  2
Objective  4
Actions to achieve the objective  5
Mitigation actions  5
Research and development, and innovation  7
Other actions  8
Data collection and analysis  8
Criteria to measure performance of threat abatement plan  10
Duration and cost of threat abatement process  11
Organisations and persons involved in evaluating the performance of threat abatement plan  11
Major ecological matters that may be affected by threat abatement plan  11
References  12
Annex: Summary of the seabird species affected by oceanic longline fishing in the Australian Fishing Zone  14
 
Glossary
ACAP
Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels, done 19 June 2001, 2258 UNTS 257 (entered into force 1 February 2004).

AFMA
Australian Fisheries Management Authority.

Antarctic Fishery
Fisheries defined by the Heard Island and McDonald Islands Fishery Management Plan 2002 (AFMA, 2012b), the Macquarie Island Toothfish Fishery Management Plan 2006 (AFMA, 2013), and any new and exploratory fisheries operating under the framework of the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, done 20 May 1980, 1329 UNTS 47 (entered into force 7 April 1982).

Australian Fishing Zone
Area of waters between three nautical miles and 200 nautical miles seaward of the baselines.

Bycatch
Unintentional catch of a seabird during longline fishing.

Bycatch rate
Number of seabirds observed caught per 1000 hooks set during longline fishing (see also definition of interaction).

Caught
Where a seabird is either hooked or entangled in fishing gear, regardless of whether the seabird is landed on board the fishing vessel.

CMS
Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, done 23 June 1979, 1651 UNTS 333 (entered into force 1 November 1983).

Coral Sea Fishery
A fishery defined under the Fisheries Management Regulations 1992 and managed under the Fisheries Management Act 1991.

Criteria
Maximum permissible bycatch rate at or above which a management response is required.

Dead seabird
A seabird caught by a longline shall be considered to be dead if:
1.         it is obviously dead (i.e. shows no muscle movement or corneal reflex); or
2.         it is landed alive, but displays any of the following pathologies that may lead to death on its release:
a.         fracture of a wing bone, a leg bone or beak;
b.         broken feather shafts on more than two primary feathers on either wing;
c.         substantial damage to the patagial tendon (indicated by a drooping wing or the inability to fly upon release);
d.         an open wound (other than superficial injuries in which there is no subcutaneous muscle damage);
e.         waterlogged or hydrocarbon-soiled plumage; or
f.          any bird released with a hook in situ.

Electronic monitoring system
Video recording system involving cameras positioned on a fishing vessel enabling fishing operations (including setting and hauling) to be recorded, and where the recordings are subject to independent viewing by an AFMA scientific observer for compliance and auditing purposes.

EPBC Act
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery
A fishery defined in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery Management Plan 2010 (AFMA, 2012a).

Fishing areas
Areas within the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery or Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery south of the parallel of 25 degrees South divided for the purposes of the criteria into five degree latitudinal bands.

Fishing gear
Any longline fishing gear deployed by a fishing vessel including seabird mitigation devices.

Fishing operator
Person who holds a fishing concession, as defined under the Fisheries Management Act 1991.

Fishing seasons
Seasons defined, for the purposes of the criteria, into two: summer 1 September ‑ 30 April, and winter 1 May ‑ 31 August.

Independent monitoring
Using an AFMA scientific observer or other independent observer approved by AFMA and/or an electronic monitoring system approved by AFMA to independently monitor and record fishing activities including seabird bycatch.

Interaction
In the context of this threat abatement plan an interaction with a seabird occurs where a seabird is observed as caught under one of the following situations:
1.         dead not landed on board – birds observed to be killed by direct interaction with fishing gear, but not landed on the fishing vessel;
2.         dead landed on board – birds killed by direct interaction with fishing gear and landed on the fishing vessel;
3.         alive landed on board the fishing vessel following direct interaction with fishing gear:
a.         injured; or
b.         released uninjured; or
4.         alive and released while not on board the fishing vessel following direct interaction with fishing gear:
a.         injured; or
b.         released uninjured.

IUCN
International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Longline fishing
Setting one or more single lines (mainline) that contains many individual hooks on branch lines or snoods. The mainline can either be anchored or drifting. It can be oriented vertically or horizontally, and vary considerably in length and number of hooks.

Night
Period after nautical dusk and before nautical dawn. Nautical dusk and nautical dawn are defined as set out in the Nautical Almanacs for relevant latitude, local time and date.

Night setting
Setting of all hooks deployed by a fishing vessel during night.

Observed caught
Number of seabirds reported caught by an AFMA scientific observer or other independent observer approved by AFMA and/or reported caught by the fishing operator in compliance with arrangements for the fishery where longline fishing is subject to independent monitoring using an electronic monitoring system approved by AFMA.

Observed hooks set
Number of hooks either reported as set by an AFMA scientific observer or other independent observer approved by AFMA and/or reported as set by the fishing operator in compliance with arrangements for the fishery where longline fishing is subject to independent monitoring using an electronic monitoring system approved by AFMA.

Offal
Discarded waste from the processing of fish (including, among other things, discarded fish and other organisms, and used baits), discarded food and food scraps.
The discharge of offal from longline fishing vessels is regulated by Division 3 of the Fisheries Management Regulations 1992.

Seabird
For the purposes of the criteria, all species in the Class Aves that are caught by any part of the fishing gear and observed to be either dead or alive.

Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery
A fishery defined in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery Management Plan 2003 (AFMA, 2012c).

Stakeholder group
Forum established by the Department of the Environment to discuss implementation and effectiveness of provisions of this threat abatement plan. Participation includes representatives from government; the fishing industry; and environmental non-governmental organisations and experts closely involved with alleviating the impact of longline fishing on Australian seabirds. This group will meet at least annually during the life of this plan.

Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery
A fishery defined in the Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery Management Plan 2005 (AFMA, 2012d).

 

Summary
Oceanic longlining is a fishing method used to target pelagic and demersal finfish and shark species. This method involves setting one or more single mainlines containing many individual hooks on branch lines or snoods. The mainline can either be anchored or drifting. It can be oriented vertically or horizontally in the water column and vary considerably in length and number of hooks. Longlining occurs in almost all Australian waters.
The adverse impact of longline fishing activities on seabirds was not fully realised until the 1980s. The incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations was listed as a key threatening process on 24 July 1995. Threat abatement plans for this key threatening process have been in place since 1998 with the current plan, Threat Abatement Plan 2014 for the incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during longline fishing operations, made on 14 August 2014. The ultimate aim of this plan is to achieve zero bycatch of seabirds from longline fishing in Commonwealth fisheries.
Considerable progress has been made under successive threat abatement plans to reduce the impact of oceanic longlining on seabirds. This has been achieved through the combined efforts of the fishing industry, researchers and non-governmental stakeholders working with government to reduce seabird bycatch in longline fisheries in a feasible, effective and efficient way. The prescriptions in this plan recognise this success and seek to further reduce the incidental capture of seabirds.
Threat abatement plans provide a national strategy to guide the activities of government, industry and research organisations in abating the impact of key threatening processes. The content of a plan must provide for the research, management and other actions necessary to reduce the key threatening process to an acceptable level. Content requirements and matters to be taken into consideration are outlined in s 271 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Protection Act 1999. Accordingly, this plan, among other things, states the objective to be achieved; specifies the actions to achieve the objective; states the criteria to measure performance of the plan; identifies the organisations and persons involved in evaluating the performance of the plan; and identifies albatross and other seabird species affected by the key threatening process. The plan is subject to review within five years.
 
 
Introduction
This threat abatement plan is a variation to the Threat Abatement Plan 2006 for the incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006). It has been developed by the Department of the Environment to continue to implement existing, as well as new actions needed to abate the listed key threatening process of incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations in a feasible, effective and efficient way. The plan binds the Commonwealth and its agencies in responding to the impact of longline fishing activities on seabirds, and identifies the research, management and other actions needed to reduce the impacts of this key threatening process on affected seabird species. The plan will be reviewed within five years.
Threat abatement plans
Under s 270A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) the Commonwealth Government develops threat abatement plans; implements the actions under these plans that are its direct responsibility; and facilitates the implementation of actions where other groups share the implementation responsibilities (e.g. fishers, states and territories). Part 13 of the EPBC Act describes the process, content and consultation required when making or varying a threat abatement plan. The legislation requires the Government to implement the plans to the extent to which they apply in areas under Commonwealth control and responsibility. In addition, government agencies must not take any actions that contravene a threat abatement plan. Where a plan applies outside Commonwealth areas in states or territories, the Commonwealth must seek the cooperation of the affected jurisdiction, with a view to jointly implementing the threat abatement plan.
Background
Oceanic longline fishing is a method used to target pelagic and demersal finfish and shark species. Longline fishing occurs in almost all Australian waters today. The adverse impact of longline fishing activities on seabirds was not fully realised until the 1980s when seabird bycatch was first reported and then documented.
The incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations was listed as a key threatening process on 24 July 1995. Under Commonwealth legislation, now the EPBC Act, an initial threat abatement plan was prepared and approved by the Minister in 1998. Following review after five years a second plan was approved by the Minister in 2006. A review of that threat abatement plan was undertaken in 2011. This Threat Abatement Plan 2014 for the incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations is a result of that review.
This threat abatement plan meets the requirements of the EPBC Act and coordinates national action to alleviate the impact of longline fishing activities on seabirds in Australian waters. Its content reflects changes and improvements which have occurred during the life of the previous plan and highlights the expectation of best and improving practice in all longline fisheries in achieving the ultimate goal and interim objective of this plan. It applies to all longline fisheries under Commonwealth jurisdiction.
 
Over the life of the previous threat abatement plans, substantial progress has been achieved towards reducing the key threatening process. The incidental bycatch rates for several fisheries are well below the 0.01 or 0.05 birds per 1000 hooks, the maximum permissible levels set as a performance indicator under the previous plan. The prescriptions in this plan recognise this success and seek to further reduce the incidental capture of seabirds.
Only five longline fisheries operating in the Australian Fishing Zone have been identified as having significant or potential seabird bycatch problems, from among the number of longline fisheries operating in Australian waters. These are the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery, the Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery, the Antarctic Fishery, the Coral Sea Fishery and the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery. These fisheries are managed by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).
Information on the level and nature of interactions between seabirds and fishing gear has increased significantly since 1995 and there is now extensive information available upon which to base decision-making. Considerable research and development activities have been undertaken into seabird bycatch mitigation measures including at sea trials. This work could not have been achieved without the continued engagement and support of industry. The prescriptions in this threat abatement plan also draw on best and improving practices in seabird bycatch mitigation for oceanic longline fishing developed under the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP). This international agreement, to which Australia is a Party, aims to achieve and maintain a favourable conservation status for albatrosses and petrels (ACAP, 2013a; 2013b). ACAP has been developed under the auspices of another international agreement, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). There is now increased confidence concerning the effectiveness of several mitigation measures, particularly line weighting strategies, use of bird-scaring lines, retention of offal during line setting, and night setting (in certain instances). These mitigation measures form the basis of the prescriptions set out in this threat abatement plan.
This threat abatement plan is closely linked to recovery plans for threatened seabirds caught on longlines; the Threat Abatement Plan for the impacts of marine debris on vertebrate marine life (DEWHA, 2009); Australia’s National Plan of Action ‑ Seabirds that is being prepared to meet Australia’s commitment to the International Plan of Action for Reducing the Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries (FAO, 1999); and the National Policy on Fisheries Bycatch (DAFF, 1999) that is under review. This threat abatement plan relies on the recovery plans to collect specific data on population trends of those threatened species found breeding in Australia. Of particular relevance is the National recovery plan for threatened albatrosses and giant petrels (DSWEPC, 2011), which updates the first recovery plan for albatrosses and giant petrels that was released in 2001. The recovery plan sets out a coordinated conservation strategy for albatrosses and giant petrels listed as threatened under the EPBC Act. It considers threats to albatrosses and giant petrels both at terrestrial breeding sites and at sea in their foraging habitat.
This threat abatement plan represents an important component of Australia’s domestic contribution to the global conservation of seabirds by managing the threat of incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations. However, conservation of migratory seabird species relies on more than Australian action. Mitigation strategies, such as those outlined in this plan, should be pursued in international waters and waters under the jurisdiction of other nations, particularly those in the southern hemisphere. Australia is actively pursuing such action through, among other things, those regional fisheries management organisations to which it is a Party, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, ACAP and CMS.
The following sets out the threat abatement plan for the listed key threatening process of incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations.
Objective
Threat abatement plans must state the objective to be achieved (EPBC Act s 271(2)(a)). The goal of this threat abatement plan is to achieve a zero bycatch of seabirds, especially threatened albatross and petrel species, in all longline fisheries. However, using currently available mitigation methods, this goal may not be realistic in the short-term, although it is expected that improved and emerging mitigation measures will mean near-zero bycatch is feasible within the life of this plan. Therefore, the objective of this threat abatement plan is to continue to significantly reduce the seabird bycatch and bycatch rate during oceanic longline fishing operations in the Australian Fishing Zone.
As many seabird species have large distributional ranges, actions by Australia alone are unlikely to be sufficient to prevent any decline in some populations. Accordingly, Commonwealth Government agencies will pursue the global adoption of bycatch and other threat mitigation strategies through international conservation and fisheries management forums.
The objective of this threat abatement plan is to be achieved through five key actions:
1.         Mitigation – effective measures will continue to be applied, both through legislative frameworks and fishing practices, to ensure seabird bycatch and bycatch rates are continually reduced, recognising the importance of other factors such as safety, practicality and the characteristics of the fishery.
2.         Education – results from data analysis will continue to be communicated throughout the community, stakeholder groups and international forums, and programs will continue or be established to provide information and education to longline operators.
3.         International initiatives – global adoption of seabird by-catch mitigation trigger and other limits, and effective bycatch and other threat mitigation methods will continue to be pursued through international conservation and fisheries management forums.
4.         Research and Development and Uptake – research into new and existing mitigation measures and their development, trial, adoption and assessment will continue to be supported including, as relevant, research into whether mitigation measures are ineffective, through the granting of individual permits and the potential approval of new measures to apply throughout a fishery.
5.         Innovation – innovation in ‘bird friendly’ fishing measures and devices will continue to be encouraged.
Data collection and analysis are other key actions of this threat abatement plan. Data will be collected and analysed to assess the performance of this threat abatement plan including mitigation measures and to improve knowledge of seabird-longline interactions.
Actions to achieve the objective
Threat abatement plans must specify actions needed to achieve the objective(s) (EPBC Act s 271(2)(c)). This threat abatement plan requires that government agencies identified below implement the following actions. The EPBC Act also requires that all government agencies act in a manner that is consistent with and does not undermine the provisions of this plan.
Mitigation actions
1.         AFMA will require all pelagic longline tuna fishers operating within either the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery or the Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery, or both fisheries, southwards of the parallel of 25 degrees South to:
a.         employ a line-weighting strategy approved by AFMA that enables the bait to be rapidly taken below the reach of most seabirds;
b.         employ at least one bird-scaring line constructed to a specified standard approved by AFMA, or use another proven mitigation measure approved by AFMA for use without such a line;
c.         not discharge offal during line setting; and
d.         employ, as part of an adaptive management approach to seabird bycatch mitigation, such other mitigation measures as AFMA may stipulate following consultation with the Department of the Environment (including, but not limited to, use of bird exclusion devices and/or managing offal discharge during line hauling, night setting, and area closures).
2.         AFMA will continue to require domestic and foreign vessels in all longline fisheries operating within Australian jurisdiction to adopt proven mitigation measures that ensure the performance criteria for each fishery are achieved in all areas and seasons.
3.         AFMA will implement an appropriate management response (described below) if the circumstances described in the table below occur, or data analysis indicates that the performance criteria, defined in this threat abatement plan, have not been met in any fishing area, season or fishery, or that independent monitoring has dropped below acceptable levels. Consistent with an adaptive management approach, the management response will be implemented as soon as practical, but no later than within three months of identification of a problem.
Problem
Management response

Bycatch incidents where more than one seabird is killed on a single trip by an individual longline fishing vessel
AFMA will investigate and determine if the cause was as a result of inadequate or non-compliant implementation of mitigation measures and/or a lack of effectiveness of mitigation measures.
In the event of non-compliance, AFMA will take appropriate corrective action, including monitoring of future compliance.
Any information of possible ineffectiveness of mitigation measures will be reviewed in consultation with the Department of the Environment and agreement reached on what corrective and monitoring actions, if any, are required.

Criterion for a longline fishery exceeded in a fishing area or fishery during one season
AFMA will:
a.    review the mitigation measures currently deployed in the fishing area or fishery and the relevant circumstances — environmental conditions and fishing practices including compliance — this review will include examination of all relevant seabird incident data, independent monitoring reports and other information;
b.    assess, in consultation with the Department of the Environment, whether it is feasible and desirable to further improve existing mitigation measures; and
c.    implement improved mitigation measures to address the bycatch problem, if identified.

Criterion for a longline fishery exceeded in a fishing area or fishery in the next corresponding season
AFMA will implement additional mitigation measures, if identified, for individual vessels that have exceeded the criterion. AFMA must consider suspension from fishing using longline fishing methods until AFMA and the Department of the Environment are satisfied with mitigation measures implemented on affected vessels.
AFMA may also close the fishing area or fishery to fishing using longline fishing methods until AFMA and the Department of the Environment are satisfied that mitigation measures are available for deployment to enable the criterion to be achieved.

Independent monitoring of a fishing area, fishery and/or season does not meet coverage levels in the criteria
AFMA will take such actions as are necessary to promptly increase independent monitoring levels to meet specified levels.

4.         AFMA will consider the different demersal longline sectors in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery when applying a management response.
5.         AFMA will take into account the conservation status of seabirds caught during longline fishing operations in determining whether a more rigorous management response is required.
6.         AFMA and the Department of the Environment will report annually to the stakeholder group on progress towards achieving the objective of this threat abatement plan and implementation of actions under the plan.
7.         AFMA will implement extension and training programs for longline fishers, where appropriate.
8.         AFMA will implement a risk based compliance strategy to ensure that all requirements of this threat abatement plan relevant to the mitigation of seabird bycatch are complied with. AFMA will provide to the stakeholder group annual summary compliance reports including using, as appropriate, templates, such as those required by the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna. These reports will include an assessment of the effectiveness of implementation of all mitigation measures and describe any incidents of non-reporting of interactions or mortalities.
9.         AFMA and the Department of Agriculture will communicate the results of implementing this threat abatement plan and promote seabird bycatch mitigation and the need to use effective mitigation measures to foreign fishers through international fisheries forums. The Department of Agriculture will report annually to the stakeholder group on progress made on this action.
10.      The Department of the Environment will communicate the results of implementing this threat abatement plan. It will promote seabird bycatch mitigation and need to use effective mitigation measures in relevant international conservation forums, including ACAP and CMS. The Department of the Environment will report annually to the stakeholder group on progress made on this action.
Research and development, and innovation
11.      AFMA, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Environment will promote and support research and development of new and existing mitigation measures, including by facilitating access to and awareness among stakeholders of fisheries research funding programs, particularly those conducting research and development into seabird mitigation measures.
12.      AFMA will support trials of new seabird bycatch mitigation measures and devices under operational conditions by granting individual scientific permits to operators. As appropriate, the Department of the Environment will provide advice to help in ensuring the experimental design of trials is robust, scientifically and otherwise, and will be properly complied with. Measures will be tested for a sufficient amount of fishing effort and in a manner that takes proper account of differences across seasons and between boats, and gives confidence in the results. Once a new seabird bycatch mitigation measure or device has been demonstrated to consistently and effectively meet the threat abatement plan criteria, it may be included in the management arrangements for fisheries.
13.      AFMA will encourage innovation in the research, development, adoption and review of effective seabird bycatch mitigation measures and devices including international research.
 
Other actions
Data collection and analysis
14.      AFMA will collect data on the bycatch of seabirds, and effectiveness of mitigation measures. In addition to collecting these data from fishing operator logbook reports AFMA will independently monitor fishing activities through the use of AFMA scientific observers or other independent observers approved by AFMA and/or electronic monitoring systems approved by AFMA. The level of independent monitoring shall be commensurate with the nature and level of seabird bycatch in each fishing area, season and fishery and comply with the requirements set out below.
15.      The minimum level of on-board observer coverage by AFMA scientific observers or other independent observers is set out in the table below.
Fishery
Minimum level of on board observer coverage

Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery and Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery
5% of all hooks set and hauled in each fishing area

Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery
10% of all hooks set and hauled in each of the demersal longline sectors

Coral Sea Fishery
10% of all hooks set and hauled

Antarctic Fishery
20% of all hooks set, and 40% of all hooks hauled

All other longline fisheries (including new and developing fisheries)
10% of all hooks set and hauled

16.      Video footage collected as part of independent monitoring using an electronic monitoring system will be subject to independent auditing. AFMA will ensure auditing results in accurate reporting by fishing operators of hooks set, seabird interactions and the effectiveness of mitigation measures.
17.      AFMA will continue to require that all seabirds killed on longlines in the Australian Fishing Zone are:
a.         if feasible, brought aboard the vessel;
b.         reported to AFMA;
c.         reported to the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme, if banded;
d.         if feasible, collected whole or tissue sampled for analysis, and stored on board the vessel in a manner that limits decay, while meeting any vessel food safety requirements established by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service; and
e.         if feasible, either transported, as a whole seabird specimen or tissue sample, to a storage and analysis facility nominated by the Department of the Environment, or undergo other analysis, as required by the Department with these costs met by the Department.
The Department of the Environment will analyse collected seabird specimens or tissue samples to determine, as appropriate, species, subspecies, provenance (where possible), age, sex and breeding status and other relevant circumstances of the bycatch incident.
18.      AFMA and the Department of the Environment will analyse and review seabird-fisheries interactions data to assess seabird bycatch levels by fishing area, season, fishery and fishing method to monitor compliance with the criteria. These analyses will be prepared annually and take into account possible biases in independent monitoring. The analyses will be provided to the stakeholder group and will show, for each fishing area, season and fishery, the observed and overall bycatch rates, together with the species composition of any seabird bycatch, if available.
19.      AFMA will ensure that logbooks for all longline fisheries and/or electronic monitoring system information collection procedures accurately record:
a.         number of seabirds caught;
b.         species of seabirds caught;
c.         life status of seabirds caught;
d.         type of bait used;
e.         fishing gear and mitigation measures used and stage of operation when the seabird bycatch occurred;
f.          time of day/night of line setting and haul;
g.         date and location of the catch; and
h.         external factors (such as weather conditions and moon phase) that may influence seabird bycatch.
20.      AFMA will use independent monitoring to validate seabird bycatch data collected by fishing operators and reported through the logbook system, and to identify potential deficiencies in existing programs.
21.      AFMA, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Environment, together with representatives of key stakeholders and relevant experts, will collaborate to consider the impact of actions under this threat abatement plan on other marine species.
 
Criteria to measure performance of threat abatement plan
Threat abatement plans must state criteria against which achievement of the objective(s) is to be measured (EPBC Act s 271(2)(b)). This threat abatement plan requires that seabird bycatch in all fishing areas, seasons and fisheries is less than the following bycatch rates:
Fishery
Bycatch rate

Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery
0.05 birds per 1000 hooks in each fishing area

Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery
0.05 birds per 1000 hooks in each fishing area

Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery
0.01 birds per 1000 hooks in each of the demersal longline sectors

Coral Sea Fishery
0.01 birds per 1000 hooks

Antarctic Fishery
0.01 birds per 1000 hooks

All other longline fisheries (including new and developing fisheries)
0.01 birds per 1000 hooks

Seabird bycatch occurs where a seabird is observed caught during longline fishing (see also the definition of interaction). This is the number of seabirds reported caught by an AFMA scientific observer or other independent observer approved by AFMA on board the fishing vessel and/or reported in the logbook records by the fishing operator where longline fishing is subject to independent monitoring using an electronic monitoring system approved by AFMA.
AFMA will monitor performance against these criteria at a fishery level and for individual vessels. AFMA may, as appropriate, hold individual vessels responsible for meeting the criteria and apply a management response to vessels that breach the criteria.
These criteria have been set on the basis of annual fishing levels at the time this threat abatement plan was approved. Trends in fishing effort will be reviewed annually and, if fishing levels increase or decrease significantly (by more than 20 per cent), AFMA and the Department of the Environment may review the maximum permissible bycatch rates identified above, taking into account spatial and temporal trends, and the vulnerability of seabird species encountered. AFMA, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Environment, may arrange more sophisticated analyses where bycatch rates are close to the maximum permissible levels and are uncertain.
 
Duration and cost of threat abatement process
Threat abatement plans may identify the duration and cost of the threat abatement process (EPBC Act s 271(4)(a)). This threat abatement plan will be reviewed within five years of its coming into force. The cost of this plan will be covered under the core business expenditure of the affected agencies. There are costs to industry in meeting the requirements set out in this plan. The overall costs should be similar to those incurred in implementing the previous plan, and are not expected to significantly increase, and may decrease in some instances as a result of this plan. These costs are an unavoidable consequence of the need to abate the incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations in a feasible, effective and efficient manner.
Organisations and persons involved in evaluating the performance of threat abatement plan
Threat abatement plans may identify the organisations and persons involved in evaluating performance of the plan (EPBC Act s 271(4)(b)). The Department of the Environment will evaluate performance of this threat abatement plan in consultation with key stakeholders and relevant seabird experts. It will report the results of the review to the Minister for the Environment, through the Threatened Species Scientific Committee.
Major ecological matters that may be affected by threat abatement plan
Threat abatement plans may specify any major ecological matters that will be affected by the plan (EPBC Act s 271(4)(c)). This threat abatement plan is unlikely to affect other ecological matters, but all actions undertaken will take into account any impacts on the conservation status of non-seabird species including fish, sharks, marine mammals and marine reptiles.
 
References
ACAP (2013a). ACAP Summary advice for reducing impact of demersal longlines on seabirds.
Available on the internet at:
http://www.acap.aq/index.php/en/bycatch-mitigation/cat_view/128-english/392-bycatch-mitigation/391-mitigation-advice
ACAP (2013b). ACAP Summary advice for reducing impact of pelagic longlines on seabirds.
Available on the internet at:
http://www.acap.aq/index.php/en/bycatch-mitigation/cat_view/128-english/392-bycatch-mitigation/391-mitigation-advice
AFMA (2012a). Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery Management Plan 2010.
Available on the internet at:
http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2012C00169
AFMA (2012b). Heard Island and McDonald Islands Fishery Management Plan 2002.
Available on the internet at:
http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Series/F2005B02477
AFMA (2012c). Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery Management Plan 2003.
Available on the internet at:
http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Series/F2005B02463
AFMA (2012d). Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery Management Plan 2005.
Available on the internet at:
http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Series/F2005L03187
AFMA (2013). Macquarie Island Toothfish Fishery Management Plan 2006.
Available on the internet at:
http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Series/F2006L00933
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (2009). National Policy on Fisheries Bycatch.
Available on the internet at:
http://www.daff.gov.au/fisheries/environment/bycatch/nat_by_policy_1999
Department of the Environment and Water Resources (2006). Threat Abatement Plan 2006 for the incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations.
Available on the internet at:
http://www.antarctica.gov.au/science/southern-ocean-ecosystems-environmental-change-and-conservation/southern-ocean-fisheries/seabird-bycatch/threat-abatement-plan-seabirds
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (2009). Threat Abatement Plan for the impacts of marine debris on vertebrate marine life.
Available on the internet at:
http://www.environment.gov.au/resource/threat-abatement-plan-impacts-marine-debris-vertebrate-marine-life
 
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (2011). National recovery plan for threatened albatrosses and giant petrels: 2011 – 2016.
Available on the internet at:
http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/albatrosses-and-giant-petrels.html
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (1999). International Plan of Action for reducing incidental catch of seabirds in longline fisheries.
Available on the internet at:
http://www.fao.org/fishery/publications/ipoa/en
IUCN (2014). IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Version 2014.1.
Viewed: 1 July 2014.
Available on the internet at:
www.iucnredlist.org
 
Annex: Summary of the seabird species affected by oceanic longline fishing in the Australian Fishing Zone
The following reflects current information on the taxonomy and conservation status of each seabird species, including information from the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Version 2014.1 (IUCN, 2014) and ACAP. A distinction is drawn between species that breed and forage in areas under Australian jurisdiction and species foraging, but not breeding in areas under Australian jurisdiction. The likely incidence in longline bycatch is assessed in the absence of seabird mitigation measures.
Species breeding in areas under Australian jurisdiction

Species name
International conservation status
EPBC Act listing
Likely incidence in longline bycatch
Jurisdiction and location of breeding areas

Wandering albatross
Diomedea exulans
Vulnerable
Vulnerable
Moderate
Australia: Heard Island, Macquarie Island
France: Iles Crozet, Iles Kerguelen
South Africa: Prince Edward Islands
United Kingdom/Argentina: South Georgia (Islas Georgias del Sur)
 

Black-browed albatross
Thalassarche melanophris
Near Threatened
Vulnerable
High
Australia: Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Macquarie Island
Chile: island groups of Diego de Almagro, Diego Ramirez, Evangelistas, and Ildefonso; islets in the Magallanes region, and Tierra del Fuego
France: Iles Crozet, Iles Kerguelen
New Zealand: Antipodes Island, Campbell Island
United Kingdom/Argentina: Falklands Islands (Islas Malvinas), South Georgia (Islas Georgias del Sur)
 

Shy albatross
Thalassarche cauta
 
Near Threatened
Vulnerable
Moderate
Australia: Tasmanian islands of Albatross, Mewstone, and Pedra Branca

Grey-headed albatross
Thalassarche chrysostoma
Endangered
Endangered
Moderate
Australia: Macquarie Island
Chile: island groups of Diego Ramirez, and Ildefonso
France: Iles Crozet, Iles Kerguelen
South Africa: Prince Edward Islands
New Zealand: Campbell Island
United Kingdom/Argentina: South Georgia (Islas Georgias del Sur)

Light-mantled albatross
Phoebetria palpebrata
Near Threatened
Not listed
Low
Australia: Heard Island, Macquarie Island
France: Iles Crozet, Iles Kerguelen
New Zealand: Antipodes Island, Auckland Islands, Campbell Island
South Africa: Prince Edward Islands
United Kingdom/Argentina: South Georgia (Islas Georgias del Sur)

Northern Giant Petrel
Macronectes halli
Least concern
Vulnerable
Low
Australia: Macquarie Island
France: Iles Crozet, Iles Kerguelen
New Zealand: Antipodes Island, Auckland Islands, Campbell Island, Chatham Island
South Africa: Prince Edward Islands
United Kingdom/Argentina: South Georgia (Islas Georgias del Sur)
 

Southern Giant Petrel
Macronectes giganteus
Least concern
Endangered
Low
Antarctica: Australian Antarctic Territory (Frazier, Hawker and Giganteus Islands), Antarctic Peninsula, South Orkney Islands, South Shetland Islands, Terre Adélie
Argentina: Isla Arce, Isla de los Estados, Isla Gran Robredo, Isla Observatorio
Australia: Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Macquarie Island
Chile: Isla Noir, Islas Diego Ramirez
France: Iles Crozet, Iles Kerguelen
Norway: Bouvet Island
South Africa: Prince Edward Islands
United Kingdom/Argentina: Falklands Islands (Islas Malvinas), South Georgia (Islas Georgias del Sur), South Sandwich Islands (Islas Sandwich del Sur)
United Kingdom: Gough Island

Great-winged Petrel
Pterodroma macroptera
Least Concern
Not listed
Moderate
Australia: southern and southwestern Australia
France: Iles Crozet, Iles Kerguelen
New Zealand: North Island
South Africa: Prince Edward Island
United Kingdom: Tristan da Cunha Group

Grey Petrel
Procellaria cinerea
Near Threatened
Not listed
Moderate
Australia: Macquarie Island
France: Iles Amsterdam, Iles Crozet, Iles Kerguelen
New Zealand: Antipodes Islands, Campbell Islands
South Africa: Prince Edward Islands
United Kingdom: Tristan da Cunha Group
 

Wedge-tailed shearwater
Ardenna pacificus
 
Least Concern
Not listed
Moderate
Australia: numerous island and coastal locations
Other: extensive distribution

Flesh-footed shearwater
Ardenna carneipes
Least Concern
Not listed
High
Australia: southern Australia
France: Ile St Paul
New Zealand: North Island
 

Sooty shearwater
Ardenna griseus
Near Threatened
Not listed
Low
Australia: southeastern Australia (including Macquarie Island)
Chile: southern
New Zealand: islands off New Zealand
United Kingdom/Argentina: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
 

Short-tailed shearwater        
Ardenna tenuirostris
Least Concern
Not listed
Low
Australia: southern Australia

Southern skua
Stercorarius antarcticus
Least Concern
Not listed
Low
Australia: Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Macquarie Island
Other: extensive distribution across sub-Antarctic

 
Species foraging in areas under Australian jurisdiction

Species name
International conservation status
EPBC Act listing
Likely incidence in longline bycatch
Jurisdiction and location of breeding areas

Tristan albatross
Diomedea dabbenena
Critically endangered
Endangered
Low
United Kingdom: Tristan da Cunha Group

Antipodean albatross
Diomedea antipodensis
 
Vulnerable
Vulnerable
Low
New Zealand: Antipodes Island, Auckland Islands, Campbell Island

Northern royal albatross
Diomedea sanfordi
Endangered
Endangered
Low
New Zealand: Chatham Islands (Big Sister Island, Little Sister Island, Forty-fours Island), South Island (Otago Peninsula, Taiaroa Head)
 

Southern royal albatross
Diomedea epomophora
Vulnerable
Vulnerable
Low
New Zealand: Auckland Islands, Campbell Island, South Island (Taiaroa Head)

Amsterdam albatross
Diomedea amsterdamensis
Critically Endangered
Endangered
Low
France: Iles Amsterdam

Laysan albatross
Phoebastria immutabilis
Near Threatened
Not listed
Low
Japan: Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands (Mukojima)
Marshall Islands: Wake Atoll
Mexico: Isla Guadalupe, Islas Revillagigedos, Islas Rocas Alijos
United States: Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (including Laysan Island and Midway Atoll)

Campbell albatross
Thalassarche impavida
Vulnerable
Vulnerable
High
New Zealand: Campbell Island

Buller's albatross
Thalassarche bulleri
Near Threatened
Vulnerable
Low
New Zealand: Chatham Islands, Snares Islands, Solander Islands, Three Kings Islands

White-capped albatross
Thalassarche steadi
Near Threatened
Vulnerable
Moderate
New Zealand: Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, Chatham Islands

Salvin's albatross
Thalassarche salvini
Vulnerable
Vulnerable
Low
New Zealand: Bounty Islands, Snares Islands

Chatham albatross
Thalassarche eremita
Vulnerable
Endangered
Low
New Zealand: Chatham Island

Atlantic yellow-nosed albatross
Thalassarche chlororhynchos
Endangered
Not listed
Low
United Kingdom: Tristan da Cunha Group
 

Indian yellow-nosed albatross
Thalassarche carteri
Endangered
Vulnerable
Moderate
France: Iles Amsterdam, Iles Crozet, Iles Kerguelen, Iles St Paul
South Africa: Prince Edward Islands
 

Sooty albatross
Phoebetria fusca
Endangered
Vulnerable
Low
France: Iles Amsterdam, Iles Crozet, Iles Kerguelen, Iles St Paul
South Africa: Marion Island, Prince Edward Island
United Kingdom: Tristan da Cunha Group

White-chinned Petrel
Procellaria aequinoctialis
Vulnerable
Not listed
Moderate
France: Iles Crozet, Iles Kerguelen
New Zealand: Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, Campbell Islands
South Africa: Prince Edward Island
United Kingdom/Argentina: Falklands Islands (Islas Malvinas), South Georgia (Islas Georgias del Sur)

Westland Petrel
Procellaria westlandica
Vulnerable
Not listed
Low
New Zealand: South Island (Punakaiki)

Black Petrel
Procellaria parkinsoni
Vulnerable
Not listed
Low
New Zealand: Great Barrier Island, Little Barrier Island