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Improving catch data to better manage Torres Strait fisheries

From 1 December 2017, the Protected Zone Joint Authority (PZJA) is implementing a Fish Receiver System (FRS) to improve data collection in commercial Torres Strait fisheries. This new mandatory system will replace the current Torres Strait Seafood Buyers and Processors Docket Book.

Under the FRS, commercial fishers operating in all Torres Strait fisheries, except prawn, will only be permitted to dispose their catch to a licensed fish receiver, who in turn can only receive product from licensed commercial fishers. There are no plans at this stage to limit the number of fish receiver licences that can be issued.

Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) Torres Strait Manager, Selina Stoute said that introducing the FRS to the Torres Strait is a positive step in supporting the local Torres Strait seafood industry.

“The FRS aims to create a high quality data stream to help ensure catch is accurately recorded. This data is an essential component in determining the status of Torres Strait fisheries and the setting of sustainable catch limits,” Ms Stoute said.

“Fishing is an important and historic industry for communities in the Torres Strait, so ensuring these fisheries are sustainable and well managed now and into the future is crucial to the livelihood of generations of fishers.

“This new mandatory system will work best with the cooperation of the seafood industry and support from local communities.”

To help with implementation, AFMA staff will be conducting island visits and speaking to communities and industry representatives leading up to its introduction of the FRS on 1 December 2017.

For more information on the FRS and to register your interest in becoming a fish receiver please contact Geoff Diver at AFMA’s Thursday Island office on (07) 4069 1990 or [email protected]. AFMA will make a formal call for applications in October 2017.

The Protected Zone Joint Authority (PZJA) is responsible for management of commercial and traditional fishing in the Australian area of the Torres Strait Protected Zone (TSPZ) and designated adjacent Torres Strait waters and supports the introduction of the FRS.

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