20m boat rule and gear restriction trials in the Torres Strait Prawn Fishery

27 January 2011

Protected Zone Joint Authority agencies, in consultation with the Torres Strait Prawn Management Advisory Committee (TSPMAC) are proposing two trials in the Torres Strait Prawn Fishery to determine whether larger fishing gear (changes to headrope length) and boat sizes (allowing boats larger than 20m) will increase efficiency and effort in the fishery.

The format of these trials is still being discussed and developed by PZJA agencies in consultation with the TSPMAC. If trials are undertaken, they will be limited to only a small number of boats (likely 2-3 for each of the two trials). Trials will be completed under a developmental permit and the boats undertaking the trials will also be required to hold a TSPF license (either owned or leased).

It is important to note that no decision has been made to change the 20 metre boat rule and associated effort restrictions. Even if these trials are undertaken and successful, there is no commitment to making changes to the boat size and gear restrictions in the fishery. Any decision to do this will need to be considered by the Protected Zone Joint Authority (PZJA). The trials will help inform the PZJA on any consideration of changes to these management arrangements.

Further consultation through the TSPMAC will occur before any changes to the management arrangements for the fishery are made.

For information about the background discussions regarding these trials refer to the letter to operators dated 5 January 2011 (PDF, 27kb) or contact Lisa Cocking at AFMA on (02) 6225 5451.