The Government commissioned an independent review of the Commonwealth Marine Reserves that were originally proclaimed in November 2012. The Department of the Environment commissioned ABARES to assess potential displacement of commercial fishing by alternative marine reserve designs and zoning options considered by the Bioregional Advisory Panel. The report details potential displacement by the network proclaimed in 2012 and the network recommended by the Panel in 2015.
Key Issues • The potential impact of the Panel recommended (2015) zoning on commercial fisheries in the regions is relatively small, compared with the total gross value of production (GVP) from all wild capture fisheries. However, while much of the total impact is diffuse, some of the potential impact is concentrated in particular fisheries, entitlement holders and towns.
• The Panel recommended (2015) zoning would potentially displace an estimated annual average 587.6 t of catch, with an annual average GVP of $4.51 million. This is less than the proclaimed network (2012), which would displace 1032 t of catch, with a GVP of $8.21 million.
• For individual entitlements, there are a large number for which the potential impacts of the Panel-recommended (2015) zoning are relatively low (more than 700 entitlements with less than $2500 displaced per year) and a small number of entitlements for which the potential impacts are higher (17 entitlements over $50 000). The largest displacement from one entitlement was $164 000. These figures do not include South Australian entitlements because ABARES did not receive fisheries data at this scale for South Australian fisheries. A single business unit may hold multiple entitlements and so the impact on a business unit would be the sum of the individual entitlement impacts.
• At the fishery level, the largest GVP displacements from the Panel-recommended (2015) zoning would be from the Western Australian West Coast Rock Lobster Fishery ($823 000), Commonwealth Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery ($585 800) and Commonwealth Northern Prawn Fishery ($488 200).
• In terms of the proportion of GVP from the entire fishery, the largest displacements would be from the Commonwealth Coral Sea Fishery (71.2 per cent of fishery GVP), Western Australian North Coast Shark Fishery (33.9 per cent) and the Western Australian South West Trawl Fishery (13.2 per cent).
• Towns with the highest potential GVP displacement were Mooloolaba in Queensland ($515 100), Geraldton in Western Australia ($449 200) and Fremantle in Western Australia ($406 300).
• The estimated net economic impact of the Panel-recommended network would be reduced regional economic activity of $7.9 million in the short term. Potential short term employment impacts were separately estimated at 18 total jobs (estimate derived from previous economic modelling) and 49 jobs (estimate derived from previous surveys of fishers). Changes in economic activity at the state / territory level are expected to be negligible in terms of the size of the economies. These estimates have been made by rescaling previous economic modelling and survey results (from 2012); ABARES was not commissioned to undertake new economic modelling or surveys.
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