The export of humphead Maori wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus), scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini), great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokkan) and smooth hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena) from the Commonwealth Coral Sea Fishery is authorised as part of an approved wildlife trade operation, made under Part 13A of the EPBC Act. This approval is valid until 17 November 2016.
These species are listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife Fauna and Flora (CITES) and although not threatened with extinction, must be regulated to ensure their trade is not detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild.
Australia’s CITES Scientific Authority considered the available scientific information; including Australian and global harvest levels and the risks associated with Australia’s fisheries management arrangements for these species. It was determined that the take of these species in the Coral Sea Fishery will not be detrimental to the survival of the species.
The Australian Fisheries Management Authority has sought a short term extension to the export approval until 30 June 2017 to allow outcomes from the recent Coral Sea Fishery Expert Panel meeting to be considered and implemented. To give effect to this proposal, the Department of the Environment and Energy is required to undertake a minimum 20 business day public consultation period. Any comments received will be considered when deciding whether to extend the approval under Part 13A of the Act, and also when the fishery is reassessed by the Department for accreditation in 2017.
The Coral Sea Fishery lies east of the Great Barrier Reef and spans an area of 780 000 square kilometres, excluding the Coringa-Herald and Lihou Reef National Nature Reserves which together conserve more than 17 000 square kilometres.
Humphead Maori wrasse are protected from commercial fishing for consumptive use in all Western Australian, Queensland and Commonwealth waters, and only allowed to be taken in very small numbers from the Coral Sea Fishery for display in public aquaria. Harvest in the Coral Sea Fishery is limited to 50 specimens per year, but is typically much less than this number.
Limits also apply to Australia’s export of hammerhead sharks. These limits represent only a very small proportion of the global trade of these species. Australia’s national harvest limits are:
- Scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) – 200 tonnes per year
- Great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran) – 100 tonnes per year
- Smooth hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena) – 70 tonnes per year
Other CITES listed species are not included in the proposed wildlife trade operation approval for this fishery.
Commenting on the proposal to extend export approval
In accordance with the provisions of sections 303FR of the EPBC Act, you are invited to comment on this proposal to extend the export approval for the Coral Sea Fishery under Part 13A of the EPBC Act until 30 June 2017.
The call for public comments is open from 7 October 2016 until 8 November 2016.
For more information on assessments and approvals relating to the Coral Sea Fishery, as well as a copy of the Department’s assessment guidelines please visit: http://www.environment.gov.au/environment/marine/fisheries.
Please submit your comments to:
Sustainable Fisheries Section
Department of the Environment and Energy
GPO Box 787
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Submissions may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Any comments received will form part of the documentation provided to the Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Energy for a decision. Copies of comments may be made available to other persons with a particular interest in the application. If you wish to claim confidentiality for any part of your comments, please contact me on (02) 6274 2772.