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Cast off of first national survey of recreational SBT catch

Over the next 12 months surveys to collect data for a robust estimation of the recreational catch of Southern Bluefin Tuna (SBT) will be carried out across Victoria, South Australia, NSW and Tasmania.

From today, if you are boat fishing out of Portland, Port Fairy, Warrnambool or Apollo Bay you may come across a researcher asking you a few questions at the ramp about your catch and time out on the water. Its important to note these researchers are from the University of Tasmania who have been contracted to do the science on behalf of the Commonwealth Government.

The surveys are essential as part of Australia’s international commitments as a party under the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT). This will be the first time that the recreational take of SBT will be measured at a national level.

VRFish encourages all SBT fishers to play their part in protecting our fantastic SBT fishery and taking the time to respond to the surveys if approached by researchers. The results from the surveys will be extremely valuable in understanding the scale and nature of the SBT fishery and be the basis of formal fishing rights in the future.

The survey will be conducted over a 12-month period, finishing up on 30 November 2019, with results set to be released in mid-2020.

Earlier, this year there was much conjecture and anger by our sector about discussions to reduce recreational fishing bag limits for SBT. Both VRFish and Victorian Fisheries Minister Jaala Pulford staunchly supported the view the data was needed before any management discussion. VRFish can say with confidence that management discussions are currently off the table. So over the next 12 months or so, lets focus our collective energy on contributing the data and developing our stewardship within the fishery through the newΒ Tuna Champions program.

More information about the surveys, including Creel survey methodology used here in Victoria, can be found at: www.agriculture.gov.au/fisheries/international/ccsbt/southern_bluefin_tuna/nat-recreational-fishing-survey-sbt#victoria

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