The Hon. Tony Burke, Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities has supported the introduction of demersal longlining in the Macquarie Island Toothfish Fishery (MITF).
The AFMA Commission sought Minister Burke’s support following the successful trial of the fishing method over four seasons from 2007 to 2010 which showed that Patagonian Toothfish could be effectively targeted by longlining.
In this trial it was demonstrated that the adoption of a range of mitigation strategies could avoid interactions with seabirds. Independent observers reported no injuries to seabirds during the four year trial.
Following a recommendation from the Sub-Antarctic Resource Assessment Group and the Sub-Antarctic Fisheries Management Advisory Committee, the Commission has agreed to the total allowable catches (TACs) for the MITF for the 2011/12 season which starts on 15 April 2011.
The TACs for Patagonian Toothfish are 150 tonnes for the Aurora Trough sector and 360 tonnes for the Macquarie Ridge sector. A catch limit of 200 tonnes for all bycatch species as a whole, with a 50 tonnes limit on any one species, will also apply.