1 February season opening for the Torres Strait Prawn Fishery is now in place

On 5 August 2015 the Protected Zone Joint Authority (PZJA) agreed to implement a 1 February season opening for the Torres Strait Prawn (TSPF) Fishery to commence in 2016. Following native title notification, this change has now been implemented and the fishery will open at 6pm on 1 February 2016.

This decision was made following extensive discussions in the Torres Strait Prawn Fishery Management Advisory Committee (TSPMAC) as well as research and consultation with Torres Strait communities, all aimed at developing options to improve economic viability and business opportunity in the TSPF and increase the flow of benefits to Torres Strait communities.

The fishery has been operating at around 20 per cent of the allowable fishing effort since 2004/5, which is well short of the level that would maximise economic yield.

In June 2015 the TSPMAC recommended that the PZJA trial the use of larger boats and fishing gear and an earlier season opening. The PZJA was unable to support the full suite of recommendations, but agreed to implement the earlier season opening from the 2016 fishing season. The PZJA can review and determine new season dates in any year.

All the fishery closures, including the spawning closure protecting juvenile prawns remain in place. Further, any closures that are linked to the opening date have been amended to align with the new season opening date.

The PZJA will monitor the effects of this change and welcome any feedback from stakeholders.

If you wish to provide feedback during the season, please contact Lisa Cocking, Senior Management Officer on 02 6225 5451 or email lisa.cocking [at] afma.gov.au ().