Cycle of Assessment, Management and Monitoring

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Management of commercial fisheries in Australia was augmented substantially with the assent of the Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

This legislation requires the Australian Government to assess the environmental performance of commercial fisheries on the basis of the management arrangements applied to them. Such assessments have important implications for international market access and, as a consequence, the commercial viability of many fisheries and the businesses that operate them.

Components of the assessments include those relating to protected species under Part 13; and those for the purpose of export approval under Part 13A. Importantly, the EPBC Act gives carriage to Australia’s obligations under various international agreements, including CITES, which has particular implications for the Queensland Coral Fishery.

The Australian Government undertakes a Fishery Assessment of each Australian commercial fishery. The assessment evaluates the ecological sustainability of management arrangements against the Guidelines for the Sustainable Management of Fisheries under the EPBC Act.

Fishery Assessments typically recur on a three-year cycle of assessment, management and monitoring. Pro-vision Reef Inc. recognises the importance of industry collaboration with the fishery management agency and scientists early in this cycle to add value to this continuous improvement model through targeted operational standards that complement the objectives of the fishery management agency.

Fishery Assessment approval includes negotiated conditions and recommendations that the fishery management agency must seek to achieve within a stipulated timeframe. Failure to achieve these conditions and recommendations may render products from the fishery ineligible for export.

Such an outcome can have far-reaching consequences for the commercial viability of all businesses within an industry sector, including businesses upstream and downstream in the supply chain.

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