New technology being trialled by Tuna Australia members is helping to protect marine life and deliver positive results for the longline fishing industry.
Funded through the Federal Government’s Our Marine Parks Grants Program, the Tuna Australia project uses beacons and satellites to help prevent the accidental drift of lines into no-fishing areas of marine parks.
Initial reports from fishers trialling the new technology show increased accuracy in positioning and tracking of their lines, improving the overall efficiency of their operations and protecting our unique marine species and their habitat.
“This is a fantastic outcome that benefits the fishing industry, marine parks and the broader environment,” Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said.
“Supporting a sustainable seafood industry is part of our balanced approach to managing Australian Marine Parks.
“By helping fishers operate more efficiently and with less environmental impact, we are able to provide healthy, sustainably sourced seafood for Australian families.”
The Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam said Australia had a deserved international reputation for producing safe, high quality and environmentally sustainable seafood.
“Australia is a global leader when it comes to fisheries management, and the introduction of this new tracking technology is another great example of our leadership,” Mr Duniam said.
“Australia’s strong fisheries management, and partnership with fishers on innovative projects such as this, has meant that no solely Australian Government managed fish stock has been classified as subject to overfishing for six consecutive years, which is a significant achievement.”
Longline fishing gear is vital to the operations of the Australian tuna industry. The lines are set at sea to move with the winds, currents and tides and fishers normally track their gear using radio beacons.
The new technology being added to vessels uses detailed information from satellites to track beacons attached to the longlines, and velocity measuring devices to better understand the likely effects of ocean currents on these lines.
“The improvements in the tracking technology help our fishers rethink the way they set their longlines. The data can also improve navigation of their vessels, saving time and fuel, and reducing overall costs,” said David Ellis, Tuna Australia.
“We’re also looking into further incorporating mapping of marine park zones into our systems to better support our vessels and lines to remain clear of high protection zones.”
“Strict science-based catch limits known as quotas, mean that improving the efficiency of fishing operations does not increase the impact on stocks.”
The Our Marine Parks Grants Program was developed to assist organisations to engage with and support the management of Australian Marine Parks.