Torres Strait Scientific Advisory Committee (TSSAC) Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference

  1. Identify and document research gaps, needs and priorities for fisheries in the Torres Strait in conjunction with the PZJA advisory groups.

  2. Develop, maintain and approve the Torres Strait Five Year Strategic Research Plan. This includes balancing tactical short term needs and strategic needs to identify research gaps and priorities.

  3. Review rolling five (5) year research plans for Torres Strait fisheries and compile into TSSAC annual research statement.

  4. Provide advice to the AFMA executive on priorities for the allocation of AFMA research funds and potential risks to achieving intended outcomes.

  5. Assess research investment and outcomes for Torres Strait fisheries to measure the extent to which the intended sustainability, social and economic needs as identified in the strategic plan are being met.

  6. Consider the level of community support for research proposals and advise researchers on any actions needed to improve community consultation before a project is supported.

  7. Provide advice on effective consultation strategies with communities regarding research projects to ensure engagement throughout the project.

  8. Communicate research outcomes to Torres Strait community stakeholders (and any other critical stakeholders).

  9. Provide advice to FRDC or other research providers on Torres Strait research priorities for potential funding consideration.

  10. Provide a forum for expert consideration of scientific issues referred to the TSSAC by the Torres Strait fisheries advisory groups.

  11. Provide other advice to the Torres Strait Fisheries advisory groups on matters consistent with TSSAC functions and Strategic Plan.

  12. Review research / consultancies, stock assessment reports, and other outputs relevant to Torres Strait fisheries and advise the Torres Strait fisheries advisory groups on their technical merit. The TSSAC should also consider research proposals or project reports that would/ do require peer review, noting this can be a very costly process.

  13. Consider final reports/ milestones before a project is finalized.

Membership

In view of the special circumstances of the Torres Strait, especially in relation to the multiple jurisdictional arrangements for management and the provisions for economic development favouring Torres Strait Islanders in the Torres Strait Treaty (1985) and the Torres Strait Fisheries Act (1984), the Torres Strait Scientific Advisory Committee (TSSAC) should reflect a balance between stakeholder representation and research expertise. The TSSAC shall have a greater representative function than other AFMA Scientific Committees. Accordingly, appointments to the TSSAC should include the following:

  1. An independent Chair with broad expertise in fisheries science or related area.
  2. Executive Officer.
  3. Four (4) Fisheries Scientists (The exact number of Scientific members may vary for each SAC as determined by the PZJA or delegate depending upon the needs of the committee. Other experts included on a register of experts maintained by AFMA may be called to attend specific SAC meetings based on their specific areas of expertise as required).

  1. One (1) representative from Queensland Fisheries.
  2. One (1) representative from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).
  3. One (1) representative from the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA).
  4. One (1) independent industry member selected from Industry through a nomination process.
  5. Five (5) traditional inhabitant representatives nominated by communities.
  6. One (1) Papua New Guinea representative as a permanent observer.