South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association November Newsletter

21 Nov

South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association November Newsletter

November’s bumper edition reports on falling sharks, a new seabird mitigation device developed by SETFIA members, the huge extent of marine parks in Australia, on a debate on international fisheries management and contains a link to the 2nd video in a series on how fisheries are assessed.

Shark drops from sky

A live 1kg leopard shark dropped from the sky in Southern California recently.

A course marshal saw something moving around on the tee and went to investigate and found the small shark.  The marshal put the shark in his golf cart and drove it back to the clubhouse.  The marshal wanted to help the shark, so stuck it in a bucket of water. Then somebody remembered it wasn’t a fresh water animal, so they stirred up some “homemade sea water” using sea salt from the kitchen, she said.  “We knew we had to get it to the ocean as fast as possible“.  “When Brian put it in the water, it didn’t move,” she said, “but then it flipped and took off.”

The shark has small puncture wounds indicating a bird of prey may have seized it before dropping it on the golf course.

It’s the first time anyone could remember a shark falling from the sky at the golf course.  “We have your typical coyotes, skunks and the occasional mountain lion, but nothing like a shark,” she said.

2nd generation seabird mitigation

Previous newsletters have reported on how vessels are managing offal to reduce the attraction of seabirds to trawl fishing vessels and on the use of pinkies (buoys) to physically deflect seabirds away from warps (cables used to tow nets).  Both are part of Seabird Management Plans which are now a condition on the fishing permit of all South East Trawl vessels supported by industry. Pinkies seem to be effective which is currently being verified by independent scientific observers.  However, they sometimes tangle in rough weather and untangling them can be a risk to crew.   A SETFIA meeting this year resolved to form a sub-committee to investigate other options for physical seabird mitigation devices.  This group trialled road cones (purchased not stolen) wrapped around the warp and water sprayers.  The road cones were problematic because they wore out and had to be fitted and removed from the warp.
However, trials to date show that the water sprayers have real promise.  A boom of sprayers (water jets) were fitted to the starboard side of the trawl vessel Lady Miriam.  The boom is adjustable so the spray can be adjusted depending on the angle of the warp wire to make sure it douses the warp.  When the vessel is fishing in shallow water it is aimed further back, in deep water closer to the vessel and in windy weather it can be directed to allow for wind.  There is nothing to tangle and nothing to forget because the system is turned on when the vessel leaves the wharf and off when coming into port. Video footage can be seen here.  For reasons known only to the birds they actively avoid getting wet. Verifying the spray boom has been difficult because as soon as the developmental trials were finished the seabirds departed to breed on land and have only recently returned to sea.

40% of Australia’s EEZ in Commonwealth Marine Parks

By Trixi Maddon, Commonwelath Fisheries Association

By the end of 2012 the Federal Government aims to introduce an extensive marine reserves network in Commonwealth marine areas – in general terms this means from 3 nautical miles (nm) to 200nm from the coast. The states and the Northern Territory will have responsibility for marine areas within 3nm of the coast. The Commonwealth already manages 26 marine reserves (14 in the already established South East
Marine Reserve Network) as well as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The proposed networks would add more than 2.3 million square kilometres to the existing national system of Commonwealth marine reserves, taking its overall size to some 3.1 million square kilometres. This would result in nearly 40 per cent of Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (not including Antarctic) being covered by marine reserves.
It will also mean that Australia would have 40% of the world’s MPAs.  Industry proposals for the marine reserves network, if adopted, would result in Australia having 37% of the world’s MPAs, but with significantly reduced impact on the fishing industry now and into the future.

Fisheries management online debate

Dr Ray Hilborn (pictured) is a marine biologist and fisheries scientist, known for his work on conservation and natural resource management in the context of fisheries. Dr Hilborn recently participated in an online debate about fisheries management on Huffington Post Live, a news website, content aggregator and blog site. The 20 minute debate can be viewed here.
Presenter Alyona Minkovski is joined by guests Dr Hilborn, academic and author Carl Safina, academic Martha Piper and Andrea Gordon from direct action group Sea Shepherd to discuss how oceans have amazing potential as a renewable food source, but are not having their potential maximised. If managed better, they could provide food for 700 million people.  Much of the debate is about the need to manage fish stock at a point known as “maximum sustainable yield”.  Australian Commonwealth fisheries are generally managed at stock sizes 20% higher than MSY – a point called “maximum economic yield”.

The first chapter of a video series produced as part of an FRDC project was launched in last month’s newsletter.  The second chapter has now been released and can be seen here.

The South East Trawl Fishing Industry Association represents the interests of Commonwealth licensed trawl fishermen in the South East Trawl Fishery.  The fishery is the main supplier of the Melbourne and Sydney fish markets. The Association represents more than 80% of the sector through voluntary membership. It has been in existence for more than 24 years. This is the Association’s external newsletter.

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