Industry cooperation essential for the success of the black teatfish trial opening

14 April 2021

The 2021 black teatfish trial opening will commence on 30 April 2021 with a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limit set at 20 tonnes. This is an important milestone for the Torres Strait Beche-de-mer (BDM) Fishery. It is a positive step towards redeveloping the black teatfish component of the BDM Fishery and increasing economic returns for the Torres Strait BDM industry.

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) acknowledges the hard work of the Torres Strait BDM industry to improve the management of the BDM Fishery. AFMA is now asking for continued industry cooperation during the black teatfish trial opening.

To ensure the TAC is not over caught, cooperation from industry to follow the rules and regulations of licence conditions is required, and timely and accurate reporting of black teatfish catch is essential.

Over catch of the TAC may have significant consequences for the fishery, including the black teatfish fishery remaining closed in future years.

Licence conditions for the trial reopening require fishers to land their catches to a fish receiver the same day that it is caught (daily) and fish receivers report all landings to AFMA electronically, the same day that they receive the catch.

AFMA Fisheries Compliance officers will be located around the Torres Strait during the trial opening and will be targeting non-reporting and stockpiling. Fishers and fish receivers found not following the rules may have compliance action taken against them.

It is now up to industry to ensure they follow the rules, and the fishery stays open for years to come.

More information about black teatfish:

Black teatfish is listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This means that black teatfish is not currently threatened with extinction, but it may become so unless harvest for trade is not carefully controlled. 

 Consistent with the CITES listing, strict fisheries management is required for Wildlife Trade Operation export approval.

More information about the season:

Fishers and fish receivers should regularly visit the black teatfish page on the PZJA.gov.au  <link> website to stay up-to-date on announcements from AFMA including catch landed and the TAC Date.

Note – The TAC date is the day that the PZJA or its delegate determines based on its reasonable belief that the TAC will be reached. You cannot fish or receive black teatfish the day after the TAC Date.