Discussions with PNG could see redistribution of TRL fishery tonnage

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority has been in discussions with PNG National Fisheries Authority regarding the recommended biological catch (RBC) for the 2017-18 season for the Torres Strait Tropical Rock Lobster (TRL) Fishery and how best to manage the fishery within the RBC.

The fishery is geographically split 85 per cent within Australian waters and 15 per cent within PNG waters. It is possible for fishers licenced in each country to seek cross endorsement, to permit fishing in both fisheries.

There are currently no cross endorsed PNG fishers who operate in Australian waters and no Australian fishers cross endorsed to operate within PNG waters. Consequently there would be a portion of the TRL stock this season that would not be fished under the terms of the Torres Strait Treaty.

We are seeking to make an agreement for this season, where there would be no authorisation of cross endorsements in either country.

This would result in Australian fishers gaining access to additional tonnage this year.

It is expected that any agreement would be reached in the next few days, at which point the TRL fishers and the Torres Strait community will be notified.

AFMA is not anticipating any changes to the current management arrangements.