The Fishery

The Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery (ETBF) extends from Cape York, Queensland, to the South Australian/Victorian border. Fishing occurs in both the Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ) and adjacent high seas.

Under the ETBF management Plan 2011, the ETBF is managed through output controls with a Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) limit set for each of the five species. The five quota species in the ETBF are Albacore Tuna, Bigeye Tuna, Yellowfin Tuna, Broadbill Swordfish and Striped Marlin. All operators in the ETBF have been granted statutory fishing rights that allow them to fish in the fishery and catch a portion of the TACC for each quota species.These fishing rights are fully transferable and are also known as Individually Transferable Quota’s. Under these arrangements each fisher is limited to catching up to the amount of quota that they hold and the whole fishery is limited to the TACC that is set each season.

Australia is a member of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and participates in meetings as part of the Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA). The WCPFC is responsible for the management of tuna and billfish stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, as well as the impacts of fishing on the wider ecosystem.

The FFA is an advisory body comprised of 17 Pacific Island Nations that provides expertise, technical assistance and other support to its members about their tuna resources. Australia implements the management measures agreed at WCPFC meetings, that protect the long-term sustainability of the tuna and billfish stocks and the wider marine ecosystem in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.

Fisheries Map

(click for larger image)