Australia's fisheries in the Heard Island and McDonald Islands region

Stormy grey skies, rough sea that crashes onto a rocky shore with penguins.
King and gentoo penguins congregating on the cobblestone beach of Spit Bay on Heard Island. The foreground shows tussocks of the native grass, Poa cookii (Photo: Kate Kiefer)

Heard Island and McDonald Islands (HIMI) is a subantarctic island group located in the Southern Ocean, about 4,000 kilometres south west of mainland Australia. Australian commercial fishing within Australia's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) around HIMI began in April 1997, and targets mackerel icefish (Champsocephalus gunnari) and Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides).

Consistent with the HIMI Marine Reserve being assigned to the IUCN category 1a (strict nature reserve) - commercial and recreational fishing in the Reserve is prohibited; however fishing vessels may cross the Reserve to reach fishing grounds.

Australia takes a leading role in combating IUU fishing, and conducts extensive fisheries enforcement activities in the HIMI region, cooperating closely with our regional neighbour, France. These patrol efforts are paying dividends, with IUU fishing in Australia's waters around Heard Island being reduced to near zero. For further information on Australia's Southern Ocean Maritime Patrol and Response Program, see Customs and Border Protection Marine Unit.

Unfortunately, vessels flagged to non-CCAMLR Parties are continuing to conduct IUU fishing in the high seas regions of the Convention area and are seriously undermining the effectiveness of CCAMLR conservation measures.