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Have Your Say About The Nsw Ocean Trap And Line Fishery

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Commercial fishermen and the broader community in NSW are being encouraged to comment on a draft strategy for the future of the Ocean trap and Line Fishery.

The Draft Fishery Management Strategy and an associated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the fishery will help ensure that it is environmentally sustainable and can continue to support hundreds of jobs along the coast.

This draft management strategy is a major step forward for the Ocean Trap and Line Fishery, which operates from Tweed Heads to Eden and from the coastline seaward to approximately 80 nautical miles offshore.

This draft strategy contains a range of proposals aimed at developing a more secure, profitable and sustainable industry.

Minister Macdonald said the draft strategy and EIS had been carefully prepared following extensive consultation with fishers, industry representatives and other stakeholder groups.

It’s now up to the community to have its say about the proposed changes and the issues arising from the EIS.

As part of the consultation process, all NSW Ocean Trap and Line fishers have been sent a copy of the draft management strategy and an overview of the full EIS for their comment.

Anyone with an interest in this particular fishery is encouraged to read the draft strategy and the associated environmental assessment.

Some of the key actions proposed by the strategy include:

* The design and implementation of an observer program, to document the degree of interactions with non-retained and threatened species.

* The development of effort targets to be achieved over a ten-year period.

* The implementation of fish escape panels in fish traps to minimise by-catch and the retention of small fish.

* The implementation of the exclusive use of circle hooks for all unattended line fishing methods to reduce the chances of gut hooking non-retained fish.

* The continuation of a catch monitoring program to support an assessment of the status of the stocks of the main species taken in the fishery.

* The implementation of a minimum size limit for wobbegong sharks (initially at 130 cm), and an adjustment of the size limit based on research results.

* The development and implementation of a recovery program for selected species determined as overfished, such as gemfish and snapper.

* The implementation of changes to reduce the impact of the fishery on grey nurse sharks, including prohibiting the use of wire traces on bottom setlines and working with Ocean Trap and Line fishers to develop appropriate arrangements to close key grey nurse shark areas to commercial fishing.

The EIS will be on public display during normal office hours from 23 March to 21 April 2006 at all previous coastal NSW Fisheries offices (now part of the NSW Department of Primary Industries), on the DPI website (www.dpi.nsw.gov.au) and at the following locations:

* The head office and regional offices of the Department of Planning

* The NSW Government Information Service in Sydney

* The Sydney office of the Total Environment Centre (NSW) Pty Ltd

* Principal Council offices of local government areas in which the activity is proposed to take place (Councils/Shires in coastal areas and most Sydney metropolitan Councils).

Complimentary printed copies of the overview paper and printed or CD copies of the full EIS (at $25 per copy incl. GST) can be obtained by phoning 1300 550 474 during office hours.

How to lodge a written submission:

Write to:

Ocean Trap and Line Fishery Environmental Impact Statement Submission

NSW Department of Primary Industries

PO Box 21

Cronulla NSW 2230

Fax to (02) 9527 8576 (marked “Attention: Ocean Trap and Line Fishery EIS”)

Email to: otl.eis@dpi.nsw.gov.au

If people wish their submission to remain confidential, the submission should be so marked.

The closing date for submissions is 21 April 2006.

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