Threat Abatement Plan (2006) for the incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations

Wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans) flying over the Southern Ocean. Michael (Mike) Double.

Introduction

Oceanic longlining is a fishing technique used to target pelagic and demersal finfish and shark species. Longlining occurs in almost all Australian waters. The 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. An initial threat abatement plan was released in 1998 and the current Threat Abatement Plan 2006 for the incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabirds during oceanic longline fishing operations (the 2006 Threat Abatement Plan for Seabirds) was released in 2006. In 2011, the then Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities approved preparation of a variation to the 2006 Threat Abatement Plan for Seabirds.

Information on the level and nature of interactions between seabirds and fishing gear has increased significantly. There is now extensive information available upon which to base decision-making. Considerable research and development activities have been undertaken since 1995 into seabird bycatch mitigation measures including at-sea trials. There is now increased confidence about mitigation measures that, when used in combination, are effective. These mitigation measures form the basis of prescriptions set out in the proposed variation to the 2006 Threat Abatement Plan for Seabirds.

Review status

A review of the 2006 Threat Abatement Plan for Seabirds in 2011 noted that significant efforts had been made to implement actions specified in the plan with positive results having been achieved including the improved avoidance of, and reduction in, seabird bycatch over nearly five years. While considerable progress in mitigation of seabird bycatch in Commonwealth longline fisheries had occurred, the review confirmed a threat abatement plan was still required and concluded that a variation to the 2006 Threat Abatement Plan for Seabirds was appropriate.

A consultation paper for varying the 2006 Threat Abatement Plan for Seabirds was released for public consultation from 25 July to 31 October 2013. The department thanks those individuals and agencies who have provided comments on the consultation paper. The department is now revising and improving the content of the varied threat abatement plan in light of the comments. In the meantime, the 2006 Threat Abatement Plan for seabirds remains in effect.

Download the 2006 Threat Abatement Plan (PDF 1 MB).

Queries concerning the Threat Abatement Plan should be directed to:

Territories, Environment and Treaties Section
Australian Antarctic Division
203 Channel Highway
KINGSTON TAS 7050

Additional Information

This page was last modified on 5 December 2013.