1. Torres Strait Tropical Rock Lobster Fishery
1a Tropical Rock Lobster Management Plan
1.1 The PZJA AGREED to release a draft plan of management for the Tropical Rock Lobster (TRL) Fishery for public comment for a period of three months noting the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) will seek additional elements in the plan, these include:
a. introducing an economic development contribution from the holders of transferable quota;
b. the Traditional Inhabitant sector (TIB) to be given first right of refusal in sale of TVH licences; and
c. transfers only to be made between existing licence holders in pursuit of 100 per cent ownership by traditional owners.
1.2 The PZJA NOTED that the scope and purpose of the draft plan is limited to establishing a quota management system. All other management arrangements may be administered using other legislative instruments;
1.3 The PZJA NOTED that the draft plan gives effect to the PZJA decision (24th Meeting, 5 August 2015) to first allocate quota units at the sectoral level for Traditional Inhabitants and review the plan two years after its implementation to allow for possible allocations to individuals or companies;
1.4 The PZJA NOTED that the draft plan reflects the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) Board agreement at its meeting on 10 September 2015 to hold TRL quota on behalf of the Traditional Inhabitant sector until an alternate allocation approach is determined; and
1.5 The PZJA NOTED the revised management plan implementation timeline.
1b Tropical Rock Lobster Section 146 Agreement
1.6 The PZJA AGREED to recommend that the Chair enter into the Section 146 Agreement relating to the impacts of actions under the proposed management plan for the Torres Strait Rock Lobster Fishery (the Agreement) with the Minister for the Environment in accordance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act);
1.7 The PZJA NOTED that, subject to the commencement of the Section 146 Agreement, AFMA will:
a. submit to the Minister for the Environment Torres Strait Tropical Rock Lobster Fishery Terms of Reference – Environmental Assessment of Fisheries in accordance with Part 1 of the Operative Section of the proposed Agreement; and
b. provide the draft Torres Strait Tropical Rock Lobster Fishery Strategic Assessment Report prepared in accordance with Part 2 of the Operative Section of the proposed Agreement for public comment: and
1.8 The PZJA NOTED that the EPBC Act requires that an assessment be undertaken for a fishery before a plan of management is determined under the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984. The Agreement is required to commence the assessment process.
1c Catch History Verification Policy for the Tropical Rock Lobster Fishery
1.9 The PZJA AGREED to the revised Catch History Verification Policy for the Torres Strait Rock Lobster (TRL) Fishery to:
a. reflect terminology and procedures for allocating quota units to the non-Traditional Inhabitant sector under a draft plan of management for the TRL Fishery; and
b. clarify that evidence will be required to support any claims of exceptional circumstances.
2. Granting of Permit for Scientific Purposes – 2016 population survey for the Torres Strait Tropical Rock Lobster Fishery
2.1 The PZJA AGREED to issue a Permit for Scientific Purposes in accordance with section 12(1) of the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984 to CSIRO to enable the research to be undertaken in the Torres Strait Tropical Rock Lobster Fishery;
2.2 The PZJA AGREED for the Chair to sign the Permit for Scientific Purposes to give effect to the decision above; and
2.3 The PZJA NOTED the outcomes of Native Title notification.
3. Torres Strait Pearl Shell Fishery Developmental Permit Variation
3.1 The PZJA AGREED to vary the Permit for Developmental Purposes issued on 1 March 2016 to Mr Richard Wilfred Bowie to enable fishing from a different vessel;
3.2 The PZJA AGREED for the Chair to sign the varied permit for developmental purposes to give effect to the decision above;
3.3 The PZJA NOTED that the PZJA members agreed out-of-session to the issue of developmental permits to eight applicants in February/March 2016; and
3.4 The PZJA NOTED that on 1 March 2016 the PZJA granted eight permits for developmental purposes allowing the take of no more than 2000 shells within the size range of 100-130 mm, shared competitively across all permits.