This section lists each action and provides an analysis of progress to date. Each action below is described in the VAFMP’s implementation table (pg 39 of VAFMP).
The status of progress is described using the following indicators: Complete; Partially Complete; and Incomplete.
A number of tasks in the VAFMP require a commitment to continuous implementation. For these cases and where appropriate, the term ‘Ongoing’ is applied.
Some tasks have been superseded by government policy and/or legislation developed after the release of the VAFMP. In these circumstances, implementation of the tasks is no longer relevant so status is described as ‘Redundant’.
Discussion is provided that identifies key issues and or constraints that have impacted on the delivery of the action.
Table 1: Status of implementing actions in the VAFMP
|Requirement||Action by DPI||Action by others||Status||Status||Future consideration|
|OBJECTIVES, INDICATORS AND REFERENCE POINTS|
|Performance indicators and reference points||Determine ecological health and compliance indices.||Ongoing||
Desktop review completed in 2004. The review identified that fishing for abalone is relatively benign.
Ecological indicators are still being developed.
Ecological indices have been developed for Aquaculture Fisheries Reserves (AFRs).
Compliance indicators have been established and monitored for the recreational and commercial wild sector.
Robust compliance indicators for illegal and unreported catches are problematic and have not been developed.
A three year FRDC project to study a number of ecological issues commenced in July 2006.
In the future, ecological indicators and reference points should be considered for abalone aquaculture outside of AFRs.
Indices for the level of compliance with reef code reporting should be considered in future management arrangements.
Robust compliance indicators need to be developed, using learnings of the National IUU project if available.
|Trigger responses||AFC to advise Minister when trigger reference points are reached, with recommendation and action plan as appropriate. (pg 15)||Ongoing||
Biomass triggers have not been triggered during the life of the management plan.
Catch triggers that have been activated were referred to AFC for advice.
Careful redefinition of the biomass trigger is required in the next management plan to avoid statistical errors that occur in their calculation.
Further improvement could be achieved by aligning catch triggers with the reef-scale catch reference points established and agreed to annually and ensuring these reference points are functionally monitored in an accurate and timely manner against output from FILS displayed on Divers Web.
|Co-management||Establish formal status of Abalone FAG. (pg 17)||FCC to establish AFC. (pg 16)||Complete||
The Abalone FAG was given formal status by the then Marine and Freshwater Resources Institute (now PIRVic) in 2002
The Abalone Fishery Committee (formerly the Commercial Abalone Fishery Committee) was renamed in November 2002, and its representation expanded to include recreational fishing and research.
|Functional role and interaction between AbFAG and AFC needs revision.|
|Resource harvesting and quota ownership||Legislation to replace AFAL with harvesting and quota entitlements, to allow transfer of these entitlements (pg19).||Complete||New quota management and licensing arrangements commenced on 1 April 2006.|
|Quota units and their allocation||Allocation of entitlements to existing AFAL holders (pg 18).||Complete||As a result of the project separating quota from the AFAL, 20 units were issued to each Abalone Fishery Access Licence (AFAL).|
|Quota units as property||Industry consultation and Government decision to establish property rights instruments (pg 19)||Complete||The Fisheries Act 1995 was amended in 2005 and now identifies a quota unit as a separate, tradeable entity.|
|Harvesting entitlements||Industry consultation and Government decision to establish property rights instruments (pg 19)||Complete||The existing AFAL has continued to be used as the tool that provides the harvesting entitlement. In general, there were no changes to existing entitlements and conditions of an AFAL.|
|TAC setting and performance monitoring||Prepare annual fishery performance monitoring reports for each of ecological, economic, social, and governance dimensions of fishery (pg 20).||AFC to undertake TAC setting and performance monitoring processes in collaboration with DPI and the Abalone FAG (pg 19)||Ongoing||
DPI has reported against ecological, economic, social and governance dimensions on an annual basis and has provided this information to the AFC. Reports have been of limited use to date, largely because of a lack of social, economic and governance information.
The AFC schedules one of its quarterly meetings to consider a range of fisheries management issues and provide advice to the Minister on the TAC for the forthcoming fishing year.
Gaining accurate economic and social information from the industry has proved problematic. The phased introduction of cost recovery and Fisheries Activity Costing Systems (FACS) data is expected to help fill information gaps in the future.
Ongoing collection of economic and social data could better inform performance monitoring of the economic and social dimension.
|Further development of the MAFRI model for blacklip (pg 23)||Ongoing||The abalone model has been continually updated over the past five years.||The model could be further adapted to better account for formation at a fine spatial scale.|
|Fishing zones and boundaries||Amendment to permit TAC setting at sub-zone level (pg 20)||Complete||In 2002 the Act was amended to allow TAC setting at a sub-zonal level.||Administrative processes for TAC subzonal setting must be considered.|
|Management arrangements for greenlip abalone||Legislation to uniquely define blacklip and greenlip abalone, enabling separate TACs to be determined. (pg 24)||Complete||
Legislation was amended in 2005 and now defines blacklip and greenlip abalone as separate species for the purposes of the Act. This allows for individual TACs to be set.
In September 2006, a conservative TAC of 3.2 tonne was set for greenlip abalone in the western zone following an industry funded survey in 2005.
|Need to investigate an appropriate greenlip TAC setting process.|
|Management arrangements for greenlip abalone||Regulations to prevent individual divers harvesting both blacklip and greenlip on the same day.||Redundant||This action was originally proposed to assist in compliance and quota monitoring; however, it is regarded as redundant given that commercial abalone divers land abalone in separately sealed bins.|
|Surveys of greenlip stocks to be undertaken biannually with advisory input from the AbaloneFAG. (pg 24)||Incomplete||No biannual surveys have been conducted for greenlip abalone. The surveys have not been undertaken due to funding constraints and other priorities associated with managing the blacklip fishery. Industry has funded greenlip surveys in the western zone and more recently in the central zone.||A process for considering and funding greenlip surveys needs to be linked with a greenlip TAC setting process.|
|Legal minimum lengths||Draft regulations as required.||AFC to determine changes.||Ongoing||
Draft regulations have not been required as Legal Minimum Lengths (LMLs) are set at a zonal level.
Industry has led the preparation and implementation of a Codes of Conduct that sets industry’s expectations of the sizes at which abalone should be harvested for individual reefs.
|The effectiveness of current arrangements needs to be reviewed.|
|Access to stunted stocks||Processing of applications to harvest stunted stocks.||Ongoing||A controlled fishing event for stunted stock was conducted in the western zone during October 2004, following PIRVic confirmation of stunted stocks.||Management of historically declared ‘stunted stock’ needs to be integrated in to a unified process that optimises the link between differences in size limits at varying spatial scales.|
|Value adding and number of processors||Undertake study of processing sector.||Complete||
Information collected on the processing sector indicated that the financial and economic performance was modest at best.
The Abalone Council of Australia commissioned a study that made a number of recommendations that related to the processing sector, including the need for a product quality and integrity scheme.
|Catch assessment||Standardised determination of annual recreational catch, effort and compliance coordinated by MAFRI. (pg 26)||Incomplete||These actions have not been addressed due to limited resources available to fund this work.||Investigate possible funding sources and methods for determining an improved estimate of the recreational harvest.|
|Enforcement and compliance||Relevant databases used to prepare annual report on compliance levels as part of fishery monitoring process involving AFC.||Ongoing||A verbal summary of compliance operations and court results is reported annually to the AFC||Need formal reports for AFC’s consideration with key performance indicators.|
|Licences, compliance and auditing||Develop guidelines for other means of differentiation from wild abalone (pg 28).||Incomplete||Licence conditions have been used to ensure controls are in place to allow differentiation between farmed and wild abalone.||State-wide compliance guidelines be developed to document and standardise effective compliance practices for farming of both offshore and land-based abalone farming.|
|Site criteria||Set separation distance from emergent rocky substrate (pg 29).||ADC if application involves areas outside established growing areas.||Complete||Since the publication of the VAFMP, commercial sea-based farming of abalone has only been allowed within aquaculture fisheries reserves (AFRs). These reserves were site selected to avoid emergent rocky substrate and were assessed in detailed characterisation surveys conducted by PIRVic.||Need to consider both site criteria and risk management approaches in future management of new land-based abalone farms.|
|Access to broodstock||Participate in preparation of Code of Practice for collection of broodstock (pg 29).||Participation by aquaculture industry and participants from the wild fishery.||Incomplete||A code of practice has not been prepared.||Access to broodstock to be controlled by regulation in General Permit. Relevant conditions on General Permit to be reviewed.|
|Environmental impact assessment and monitoring||Condition of licence to be arranged as well as assessment and monitoring of sites (pg 30)||Environmental agencies.||Complete||
A comprehensive environmental monitoring framework has been developed for all AFRs.
For land-based abalone farms, the EPA specifies environmental monitoring requirements and maximum nutrient loads in EPA discharge licences.
|Environmental management system required for land-based farms and should be consistent with world best practice.|
|Policy||DPI to complete current policy following stakeholder consultation (pg 31).||ADC and other agencies as appropriate.||Redundant||Commercial abalone ranching is not allowed outside of AFRs. The management plans for AFRs set the operational rules and address ranching issues. The management plans don’t currently allow ranching.|
|Licences, compliance and auditing||Consideration of applications for life of plan to be achieved through Research Permit (pg 32)||ADC and other agencies as appropriate.||Complete||To date, only one application has been made for resource enhancement in the western zone. The Research Permit was issued in accordance with conditions described in the VAFMP.|
|Food sources||Prohibition of growth stimulants or chemical controls (pg 31).||Incomplete||Prohibition on growth stimulants and chemical use has not been introduced by changes to the Fisheries Act or Regulations.||The need for this action should be reviewed given that to date, there haven’t been any applications for resource enhancement that require the use of stimulants or chemical controls. The control of food additives and chemical usage is administered through alternative legislation.|
|FEES, LEVIES AND ROYALTIES|
|Harvesting sector||Dependent on policy determination, arrange for replacement of current formulae by three separate categories of charge: fees for commercial services; levies for recovery of attributable costs; and a community return (pg 32).||Determination of government policy on attributable cost recovery and community return.||Complete||A new cost recovery and royalty regime commenced on 1 April 2006. Levies are now charged to partially recover the costs of fisheries management, compliance and research. Levies are also collected for the industry peak body (SIV) and the Commonwealth Fisheries Research Development Corporation. Royalties are payable at 7.2% of GVP minus (FMS levies and FRDC levy).|
|Annual determination of attributable costs (pg 32).||Complete||Attributable costs are determined through the DPI Fisheries Activities Costing System (FACS).|
|Aquaculture sector||Dependent on policy determination, arrange for fees for commercial services; levies for recovery of attributable costs; and a community return for broodstock use (pg 32).||Determination of government policy on attributable cost recovery and community return.||Complete||Phased implementation of cost recovery commenced on 1 April 2004 with the full recovery of all attributed costs to be achieved in 2007. Fees are now charged across fisheries management, compliance and research.|
|Annual determination of attributable costs (pg 32).||Complete||Attributable costs are determined through the DPI FACS.|
|Level of resource theft||Complete current research project “Assessment of illegal catches of Australian abalone: Development of desk-based survey methods” (pg 33).||Complete||The report was completed in April 2002 and highlighted that further work was needed in assessment and monitoring to quantify the level of resource theft.||
Support the FRDC application, “Illegal Unidentified & Unreported (IUU) Abalone Catch Estimation Strategies”.
Opportunities to expand the FRDC project to include other state jurisdictions should be investigated with the intention of developing a larger nationally consistent approach to catch estimation of IUU.
Outcomes of the project should inform efforts in estimating IUU.
|Strategic enforcement||Finalise “Abalone fishery enforcement strategy“and conduct stakeholder consultation (pg 33).||Partially complete||
An Abalone Fishery Compliance Strategy was prepared and finalised for 2002/03 by a working group that included the DPI and industry stakeholders.
Annual reviews and updates of the strategy’s’ performance targets did not occur in subsequent years.
|An annual risk based approach should be used when prioritising future enforcement efforts.|
|Field operations and health and safety||Continuing development of cooperative arrangements for strategically planned joint police and fishery officers taskforce operations to address major resource theft problems (pg 33).||Victoria Police to participate in joint operations.||Ongoing||Over 15 major operations between the DPI and Victoria Police have been undertaken since the release of the management plan. A commitment for these two agencies to work together is described in a Memorandum of Understanding that was endorsed in July 2004.||Correspondence between the DPI and Victoria Police in August 2006 has provided further support that the two agencies will continue to work together into the future.|
|Enforcement resourcing allocation||Benefit/cost consultancy (pg 34)||Incomplete||
A specific cost benefit analysis has not been completed due to a lack of quantitative information on compliance levels within the illegal sector.
A national research project is currently being developed by the Australian Fisheries Management Forum to benchmark compliance activities across state jurisdictions. This information is likely to provide insights into the levels of compliance efforts and their economic efficiency.
|The need for a cost/benefit study as a means of improving enforcement resource allocation should be reviewed and, as appropriate, aligned with expected outputs of the national project.|
|Enforcement resourcing cost recovery||Contingent on policy for fees, levies and community return.||Complete||Full recovery of attributable costs and a new royalty regime commenced on 1 April 2006.|
|Legislative innovation to improve officer effectiveness||Provision of immunity for undercover operations and confiscation of assets for repeat offenders and undercover operations.||Complete||
Provision of immunity for undercover operations was introduced by amendments to the Fisheries Act in 2003. Legislative innovation to improve officer effectiveness Provision of immunity for undercover operations and confiscation of assets for repeat offenders and undercover operations. Complete
In 2000, new legislation for Asset Forfeiture and Criminal Proceeds was introduced. This provides for the seizure and forfeiture of assets used in criminal activities or purchased with proceeds of criminal activity.
|Industry participation in enforcement||Establishment of systems for the receipt, logging and responding to reports of theft activities from industry and the general public with safeguards to ensure the security and safety of the information sources.||Complete||
Since 2002 there have been three key developments that have improved the level of reporting (and tracking of responses) to illegal activities:
|Education and extension through the media||Ensure media coverage of significant and successful enforcement operations and understanding of impact and serious nature of resource theft||Complete||Since the release of the management plan a significant number of operations targeting abalone poaching have been publicised in print media and in some cases through television coverage.||Needs continued work in the future to maintain or improve industry and community confidence in enforcement operations and compliance issues more generally.|
|Education and extension of community||Increase awareness of sections of the community involved in abalone theft of the damage such activities inflict on the resource and the penalties that can be incurred for misdemeanours.||Complete||
Awareness has been raised with sections of the community with a number of different approaches, including:
|Future education efforts will be guided by a Fisheries Education Strategy to be developed in 2007.|
|ABALONE QUOTA MANAGEMENT SYSTEM|
|Catch weight registration||Regulations that specify time and distance constraints as well as reporting procedures will be required.||Complete||A beach weighing registration system was implemented on 1 April 2003.|
|Harvest reports||Installation and operation of an automated system such as telephone Interactive Voice Reporting (IVR) to facilitate administration of the AQMS. (pg 36)||Complete||An Interactive Voice Reporting system was introduced in 2003.||Opportunities to further enhance the IVR with data from a Vessel Monitoring System should be investigated.|
|National audit trail||Pursue the adoption of national efforts to introduce effective labelling and audit systems which are compatible and allow product to be tracked. (pg 36)||National Fisheries Compliance Committee of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture.||Complete||
In 2000, Victoria introduced mandatory labelling for all processed abalone. Mandatory labelling was introduced by NSW and TAS in 2005.
All states, with the exception of WA and NT, have made legislative changes that require a docketing system to be in place that enables abalone to be tracked from the place of landing to the place of consumption.
|Continue efforts to persuade the remaining jurisdictions to implement mandatory labelling and indictable offences.|
|Performance monitoring and review (of AQMS)||Establish annual targets monitoring and reporting systems (pg 36)||Ongoing||Annual reporting occurs through established Government reporting systems to the Department of Treasury & Finance. This report includes information on the number of fisheries compliance strategies implemented, level of community compliance and level of compliance for high priority species.|
|DPI compliance staff conduct regular audits of the commercial licensed sector to ensure the integrity of the AQMS. These audits are part of DPI’s field services annual work plan. The targets are set and reviewed annually by DPI.|
|ABALONE ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT|
|MAFRI to undertake ecosystem monitoring in conjunction with annual fishery independent surveys.||Partially complete||PIRVic currently undertakes ecosystem monitoring as part of annual fishery independent surveys.||Needs continued work in the future to improve understanding of abalone ecosystem management and adapt fishery independent surveys to better account for ecosystem monitoring.|
|The AbFAG to provide guidance in survey design and results interpretation. Findings to be reported to AFC as part of the fishery performance monitoring process. (pg 36)||Partially complete||
The AbFAG has had some input to research strategies and priorities related to improving the quality of assessments and addressing knowledge gaps identified through the assessment process.
Assessment findings are reported to AFC, DPI & SIV (AbCom member committees).
|Consider developing a process for providing guidance in survey design for abalone R&D projects.|
|Harvesters to be vigilant and report unusual ecological disturbances for investigation by MAFRI in collaboration with other entities as appropriate.||Complete||Few if any reports of ecological disturbance have been submitted by commercial abalone divers.||Industry reporting should be considered for inclusion in industry Codes of Practice.|
|Research planning and priorities||AbFAG and FCC Research Committee to liaise regarding research priorities and the monitoring of research progress. (Pg 38)||Partially complete||The AbFAG has met annually and discussed research priorities on some occasions.||
The FCC Research Committee has been removed under the revised FCC structure.
A new framework to better coordinate and prioritise R&D investment across all fisheries has been developed. This framework includes the establishment of a government and stakeholder R&D Reference Group that will assess and prioritise research projects.
|Industry participation in research||AbFAG and AFC to contribute views and support for research proposals. (Pg 38)||Complete||
The AbFAG has met annually and discussed research priorities at some of its meetings.
The FCC Research committee have met annually to discuss research proposals. The FCC Research Committee has been removed under the revised FCC structure.
|A new framework to better coordinate and prioritise R&D investment across all fisheries has been developed. This framework includes the establishment of a government and stakeholder R&D Reference Group that will assess and prioritise research projects.||Implement the new R&D framework which aims to improve industry participation in identifying and prioritising research proposals.|
|Research funding||Additional research funding required to provide information for TAC setting and other information required by the plan is identified under the relevant Issue. Funding for research within existing the DPI budget, and through FRDC grants, will be pursued in the usual annual competitive manner, with justification based on identified research priorities. (pg 38)||Complete||The new R&D framework will result in a more coordinated approach to developing research proposals and is likely to improve success in gaining external funding support.|