Gulf St Vincent Prawn Boat Owners Association

The three prawn fisheries in South Australia — Spencer Gulf, Gulf St Vincent and the West Coast — are all based exclusively on the western king prawn (Melicertus latisulcatus).

The western king prawn has a wide distribution over the Indo-Pacific region. The world’s largest known population of western king prawns is in Spencer Gulf. South Australia’s prawn fisheries are somewhat unique due to their geographical location, cold-water environments and the existence of only one commercial Penaeid species in the fishery.

Licensed prawn fishers are permitted to take several other species as byproduct, which are not targeted, but caught incidentally during fishing operations. The Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent fisheries are permitted to retain slipper lobster (Ibacus spp) and calamari (Sepioteuthis australis), while the West Coast fishery is permitted to retain these species as well as octopus (Octopus spp), scallop (Family Pectinidae) and arrow squid (Nototodaru gouldi).

Trawling is undertaken at night (from sunset to sunrise) using the demersal otter trawl technique. This consists of towing a funnel shaped net, which leads into a bag (referred to as a cod-end), over the sea bottom. The otter boards are used to keep the trawl nets open whilst being towed. Fishing is generally undertaken using double-rigged trawl gear, although some smaller vessels in the Gulf St Vincent fishery are still permitted to use triple-rigged gear.

Considerable technological advances have been made in the way the catch is handled. These practices are particularly advanced in the Spencer Gulf fishery, with the use of ‘crab bags’ to exclude mega-fauna bycatch, ‘hoppers’ for efficient sorting of the catch and rapid return of bycatch, ‘graders’ to sort the prawns into marketable size categories, and onboard freezing facilities that enable full processing on-board.

The fisheries in Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent are generally closed in January and February, and from July to October each year. Fishing periods in other months last a maximum of 18 nights from the last quarter to first quarter of the moon phase.

Abalone Fishery; Western Zone Abalone (Abalone Industry Association of SA); Southern Zone Abalone; Central Zone Abalone

In South Australia, two species of abalone are harvested on a commercial basis:

  • greenlip abalone, Haliotis laevigata
  • blacklip abalone, Haliotis rubra.

There are three Abalone Fisheries divided into the following zones:

  • the Western Zone Abalone Fishery covering the coastal waters west of the meridian of longitude 136°30'E
  • the Central Zone Abalone Fishery covering the coastal waters between the meridians of longitude 136°30'E and 139°E but not including the waters of the Coorong or any other waters inside the Murray Mouth
  • the Southern Zone Abalone Fishery covering the coastal waters east of the meridian of longitude 139°E but not including the waters of the Coorong or any otehr waters inside the Murray Mouth.

Lakes and Coorong Fishery Southern Fisherman’s Association

http://www.coorongfishery.com/ Goolwa Pipi Harvesters Association

The managed fisheries associated with South Australian inland waters are dominated by the River Fishery and Lakes and Coorong Fishery. The Murray–Darling Basin is the largest freshwater catchment in Australia, spanning four state-managed jurisdictions.

The system has evolved in an environment of extremes, characterised by periodic flooding and extended periods of drought. Because of its critical importance to human existence and industrial development, the entire system has been significantly modified since European settlement. The introduction of various water flow management measures, water extraction systems, the associated barriers to fish migration, and the proliferation of a number of exotic fish species have collectively served to modify the structure, productivity and function of the entire ecosystem, and has had a generally negative impact on fish habitat.

A number of the key species harvested in the Lakes and Coorong Fishery also require environmental flows down the River Murray to maintain sustainable production. The Lower Lakes ecosystem, which was originally part of Australia’s largest estuary, was modified in the early 1940s, becoming a network of shallow freshwater lakes, with golden perch, European carp and bony bream the main species harvested. The construction of a network of barrages across the five main channels near the mouth of the River Murray has also reduced the flow of water into and out of the Murray Mouth under tidal influence. The production of estuary dependent species harvested in the Coorong and along the Coorong Beach is limited during periods of minimal flow of freshwater through the barrages.

The Lower Murray Lakes and Coorong region is situated at the tail end of the Murray–Darling Basin, where the river system meets the Southern Ocean.

Production levels in the Lakes and Coorong Fishery are primarily driven by variation in natural environmental conditions, in particular the frequency of flooding and the extent of drought periods. As such, the biological productivity of most major fish species and the economic productivity of the fishery will continue to fluctuate in line with variations in natural environmental conditions such as freshwater outflows.

Blue Crab Fishery (SA Blue Crab Pot Fishers Association)

http://sabluecrabs.com.au/

Blue crabs (Portunus pelagicus) are found throughout South Australian waters, but the majority of the stock inhabit the warmer shallow waters of the St Vincent and Spencer Gulfs. This is also where the majority of commercial fishers have operated.

In 1996, the South Australian Government established a commercial blue crab pot fishery, implementing management and research strategies to maintain a sustainable and financially viable fishery. The new management arrangements developed a limited entry fishery, with access arrangements determined by historical catches. The fishery was divided into two areas (Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent), with two sectors operating in each gulf (pot and marine scalefish sectors). Through the establishment of a commercial Blue Crab Fishery, a number of marine scalefish licence holders who had historically targeted blue crabs in waters adjacent to Yorke Peninsula using hoop and drop nets were provided access to either the Spencer Gulf or Gulf St Vincent jurisdictions of the fishery.

Since establishment of the fishery, an ITQ management system has been in place. At the commencement of the fishery in 1996, TACCs were set and divided equally amongst licence holders in each of the sectors in each of the gulfs.

In addition to those licence holders with access to the Blue Crab Fishery, all marine scalefish licence holders have access to blue crabs in South Australian waters outside the waters defining the area of management of the fishery. Blue crabs in these areas may only be taken by fishing devices listed as registered devices on marine scalefish licences.

Traditionally, commercial fishing for blue crabs outside the Blue Crab Fishery has been seasonally based, especially on the West Coast of South Australia in waters adjacent to the settlements of Streaky Bay and Ceduna. The seasonal influence of the abundance of blue crabs present in this area has been traditionally dependent on water temperature and salinity.

Charter Boat Fishery (Charter Boat Owners Association)

http://www.charterboatssa.com.au/index.htm

Charter fishing is a commercial activity undertaken for the purposes of trade or business and is licensed under the Fisheries Management Act 2007.

They are a South Australian association of charterboat owners and operators that was formed in 1991, representing many individuals all across South Australia.

As the premiere Association that represents charter boat interests, their objective is to improve the professional charter boat operator's image and to provide a strong voice in South Australia. All members of the association are accredited and certified operators for our customer's safety and well being. All charter boat businesses contribute to South Australian economy and are vital to the region.

Marine Scalefish Fishery (Marine Fishers Association)

The Marine Scalefish Fishery operates in all coastal waters of South Australia including gulfs, bays and estuaries (excluding the Coorong estuary), from the Western Australian border to the Victorian border. The fishery includes most marine species of fish, molluscs, crustaceans, annelids and sharks, but excludes rock lobster, prawns, abalone, blue crabs and freshwater fish species, all of which are managed separately.

The term ‘scalefish’ is somewhat of a misnomer when applied to a few of the species in this commercial sector (eg squid and sharks). The majority of production is still comprised of traditional scalefish species, in particular King George whiting, snapper, southern sea garfish and Australian salmon. Other species (especially southern calamary, sharks, ocean jackets, sand crabs and cockles) provide an important contribution to the value of the fishery.

There are more than 50 species of ‘scalefish’ taken by commercial fishers in South Australia. Of these, less than 10 are targeted consistently. King George whiting is the state’s most important fish from both a commercial and recreational point of view.

At the request of the Executive Committee the MFA developed an Election Policy to complement our contribution to the WFSA Policy. These issues represent political issues specific to the MSF that are often outside the direct control of PIRSA Fisheries. To view the full policy click here. 

Many of you would have seen the political manoeuvring from RecFish SA the peak recreation body in the Advertiser and Radio regarding Garfish (Net Fishing) (Wed 12th and Thurs 13 Feb). The MFA responded swiftly regarding the misrepresentation of SARDI’s 2009 report which was used to mislead the public. Their ultimate goal is to close commercial fishing within the Gulfs which would severely infringe on the rights of SA seafood consumers to access their share of state resources.

Thankfully, the hard work of the GWG and the commitment of Net Fishers to the rebuilding strategy gave the Director and Minister something to lean against, unlike 2005. Click here to view a copy of the media release.

To view the latest MFA newsletter please click here.

Rock Lobster Fishery Northern Zone (NZRL)

The South Australian Southern Rock Lobster Fishery is one of several state- managed fisheries operating in southern Australian waters. The species supports important commercial and recreational fisheries in South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia and New Zealand.

The most productive fishing grounds are in waters adjacent to South Australia, which have historically supported the largest fishery for the species. The total commercial catch of Jasus edwardsii from South Australian waters is on average 2500 tonnes/ year, which represents about 30% of the total annual commercial catch for the species. The total South Australian recreational catch is estimated to be between 87 and 118 tonnes /year.

The Rock Lobster Fishery is South Australia’s most valuable commercial fishery. In 2004–05, the gross landed value of production across both fishing zones was A$66 million. In 2004–05, catches were 446 and 1900 t in the northern and southern zones, respectively. More than 95% of the annual catch is exported to a number of destinations, the most significant of which is currently Hong Kong. The total annual export revenue generated by both fisheries is in the order of A$110 million/year.

The Rock Lobster Fishery was separated into two management zones in 1968.

The northern zone encompasses a stretch of coastline in excess of 3700 km, including all waters adjacent to South Australia west of the River Murray mouth to the Western Australian border, from the low water mark out to 200 nautical miles. The southern zone encompasses all remaining state waters along a much smaller, yet more productive stretch of coastline of about 425 km.

Annual production in the northern zone is generally less than half that of the southern zone. The spatial separation into two zones recognises key differences in the geological and ecological character between the eastern and western borders of South Australia.

The northern zone is characterised by patchy and discrete, predominantly granite reef formations that are separated by large expanses of flat sandy bottom. These reef structures generally afford less habitat for rock lobster shelter than the more continuous and interconnected bryozoal limestone reefs that characterise the southern zone. Because of these characteristics, the northern zone holds lower densities of lobsters than the neighbouring southern zone. In the northern zone, the lower density of lobsters, environmental characteristics and other factors such as its close proximity to the western extension of the geographic distribution of J. edwardsii, generally results in higher inter-annual recruitment variation than the southern zone.

Growth rates and size at sexual maturity for J. edwardsii are highly variable throughout the waters of South Australia, with growth rates generally faster in the northern zone due to higher water temperature and lower lobster densities.

Lobsters are commonly landed at more than 40 locations in the northern zone, but only seven locations in the southern zone. Northern zone vessels fish for 1–10 days per trip, generally fishing for longer periods on the West Coast. The southern zone fishery is a day fishery with vessels fishing close to their home port. The costs of fishing in the northern zone are higher than those in the southern zone due to the larger distances travelled, particularly with the rise in fuel prices.

Spencer Gulf and West Coast Prawn Fishery

http://www.prawnassociation.com.au/

The three prawn fisheries in South Australia — Spencer Gulf, Gulf St Vincent and the West Coast — are all based exclusively on the western king prawn (Melicertus latisulcatus).

The western king prawn has a wide distribution over the Indo-Pacific region. The world’s largest known population of western king prawns is in Spencer Gulf. South Australia’s prawn fisheries are somewhat unique due to their geographical location, cold-water environments and the existence of only one commercial Penaeid species in the fishery.

Licensed prawn fishers are permitted to take several other species as byproduct, which are not targeted, but caught incidentally during fishing operations. The Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent fisheries are permitted to retain slipper lobster (Ibacus spp) and calamari (Sepioteuthis australis), while the West Coast fishery is permitted to retain these species as well as octopus (Octopus spp), scallop (Family Pectinidae) and arrow squid (Nototodaru gouldi).

Trawling is undertaken at night (from sunset to sunrise) using the demersal otter trawl technique. This consists of towing a funnel shaped net, which leads into a bag (referred to as a cod-end), over the sea bottom. The otter boards are used to keep the trawl nets open whilst being towed. Fishing is generally undertaken using double-rigged trawl gear, although some smaller vessels in the Gulf St Vincent fishery are still permitted to use triple-rigged gear.

Considerable technological advances have been made in the way the catch is handled. These practices are particularly advanced in the Spencer Gulf fishery, with the use of ‘crab bags’ to exclude mega-fauna bycatch, ‘hoppers’ for efficient sorting of the catch and rapid return of bycatch, ‘graders’ to sort the prawns into marketable size categories, and onboard freezing facilities that enable full processing on-board.

The fisheries in Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent are generally closed in January and February, and from July to October each year. Fishing periods in other months last a maximum of 18 nights from the last quarter to first quarter of the moon phase

South Australian Women’s Industry Network (SAWIN)

http://www.sawin.org.au/

There were many reasons why our Women’s Industry Network (WIN) was founded in South Australia, but the main two were :

Originally WIN only involved the wild harvest sector which had a very poor public image and was being severely impacted upon by political decisions. This was often based on lack of education and mis- information, past history and poor practices in fisheries overseas. This reputation which is not deserved was a reality. The industry needed to improve the public's perception of what they do for a living.

The social impacts on families, businesses and communities were not taken into account when politicians slashed fishing families’ livelihoods for a variety of reasons. It is pretty easy to take a fisherman’s livelihood away and throw him out on the street, but a little harder when his wife and children are in the same position. It gave these “blokes in boats” a more acceptable image.

WIN gives industry a human face, Women have been doing half the work anyway, all the onshore work, including most of the office work, marketing, radio work, spare parts pick up and delivery, public relations etc.

The politicians and bureaucrats needed to be aware of the consequences of their decisions and SAWIN, and eventually with a National Body WIN Seafood Community, raised the industry profile, and made sure that social as well as economic and environmental impacts were considered.

As the organisation grew and matured it was recognised that it needed a more inclusive membership was required and the net was cast out to anyone affiliated with the seafood industry. This included the decision makers, women in other sectors of the industry, support and training organisations and anyone with an interest in the industry. SAWIN even also happy to have men involved.