Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator Joe Ludwig, and Parliamentary Secretary, Dr Mike Kelly, today announced that the Extended Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna has made an important breakthrough towards rebuilding the global stock of southern bluefin tuna.
“The international organisation responsible for the global management of southern bluefin tuna, has taken a crucial step in working towards recovering the stock to sustainable levels,” Minister Ludwig said.
“The decision to adopt a formal rebuilding strategy for southern bluefin tuna is one of the first of its kind. This means that the management plan will be used as the basis for sustainable global catch limits both now and into the long term.”
“The settings of global catch levels have been based on scientific advice to achieve the outcome of a sustainable stock. By taking a precautionary approach during the early stages of stock industry can be assured that they will have a fishery to use in the long term, as well as today.”
Dr Kelly said Australia’s southern bluefin tuna fishery is one of our most iconic fisheries.
“The future of this important industry can only continue if there is a sustainable stock into the future,” Dr Kelly said.
“The rebuilding strategy adopted will ensure that Australia’s southern bluefin tuna fishery remains profitable for the long term – which is a big win for the industry.”
Under the rebuilding strategy, the global catch limit will increase from the 2011 level of 9,449 tonnes to 10,449 tonnes in 2012 and 10,949 tonnes in 2013.
Australia’s national quota will increase from 4,015 tonnes in 2011 to 4,528 tonnes in 2012 and 4,698 tonnes in 2013.
Subject to satisfactory stock assessment in 2013, the global catch limit for 2014 would be set at a maximum of 12,449 tonnes, with an allocation of 5,147 tonnes to Australia.
The annual meeting of the Extended Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna concluded in Bali on 13 October 2011. The Extended Commission will next meet in October 2012.
“It is thanks to the hard work and the good faith of all members of the Extended Commission that agreement was able to be reached on this important breakthrough,” Minister Ludwig said.