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Contract Awarded To Mrag Americas Inc. To Conduct

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A contract has been awarded to MRAG Americas Inc. to undertake scientific observer work in the NSW Ocean Hauling Fishery. The work involves observing the use of the general purpose hauling net on ocean beaches between March and August 2005 and recording information on:

* the total weight and number of the different species caught in the net

* the lengths of fish caught in the net

* any wildlife accidentally caught by the fishing operation

* the type of habitat where the fishing operation is occurring, and

* use of the gear (eg. net type, net length, mesh size, number of crew).

The contract commenced on 2 March 2005 and expires when the contractor delivers the required data and final report. The contract price is fixed at $152,000 Australian dollars (ex GST) and includes collection and provision of data, data analysis, a final report and collection and supply of fish otoliths. During the work, travel arrangements for observers will be organised independently of the commercial fishers and independently of DPI.

MRAG Americas is an independent company based in Florida , USA . It is a subsidiary of the Marine Resources Assessment Group (MRAG Ltd), an international company with a long and productive track record of designing and implementing integrated resource management systems in marine, estuarine, riverine, and floodplain environments.

The contract was awarded to MRAG Americas Inc. following the assessment of tenders by an Advisory Panel (consisting of Fisheries Management, Fisheries Science and Industry expertise), after considering the following factors: whether the tender requirements had been met; soundness of proposed sampling regime and data entry/validation procedures; knowledge of beach hauling or comparable fishing activities; level of experience with observer work (company & staff); adequacy of the proposed training regime for observers; adequacy of proposed OH&S plan; value for money; overall confidence in the company successfully completing the work. Particular attention was given to the value for money.

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Guest Jocool

It would be interesting to know what there prior track record is, and which way they tend to lean! Do they favour conservation/sustainability or some other agenda??

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It will be interesting to see what results they get & what actions (if any) they take after it.

I know in Queensland after a study they closed large areas to beach netting as the fish they are hitting are all schooled up & on spawning runs. We have all heard or seen of large numbers of mullet for example being netted & them just dumped dead on the beach because the price had fallen so low at the markets it wasn't worth shipping them.

Look at the way Salmon numbers have improved since beach netting for them was restricted.

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Geez I would have though DPI would know all that. If not they certainly should as half of it is a licence and legal requirement!!!

Interestingly they chose a US company. both state and fed fisheries were deplorable for there employment of preordained outcome freindly analysts. Along side the mob of turkeys who said the SBT fishery is in a healthy state. There are consultants such as the illustrious DR Underwood and the mob at Sutherland who handled the license and RFA debacle.

$152,000 won't buy you much international research and given the current ministers bend over and take it with a smile from the pros attitude. Added to that as the licence fund hasnt been raped to pay for it. I aint gonna be optimistic until the final report is in. The cynic in me says that something is up and maybe they had to go over seas to find a company who would actually give the nod to what is a completly unsustainable method. lets hope I'm wrong.

Edited by allen glover
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Guest johblow

Hmmm... a lot of incidents are gonna slip through their net so to speak. I've seen utterly terrible stuff on the part of beach netters, but you have to be in the right place at the right time to catch it.

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