Publications & Videos

OceanWatch Australia’s publications and videos are the result of its work on various projects and programs

Protected Species Handling Manual (2nd Edition)

This handbook provides practical suggestions for fishers who may have to handle protected or threatened species they encounter during their fishing operations. The handling methods have been trialed by fishers and scientists and can be recommended to assist improve handling practices. This handbook contains information about:

  • Why some species need to be protected;
  • Australian laws that protect species;
  • Protected species that may be encountered throughout Australia’s waters;
  • Recommended handling methods for protected fish, reptiles, birds and mammals when encountered;
  • Protected species lists; and
  • Contact information for the various management agencies and other relevant organisations.

The revised edition of this manual was funded by the NSW Environment Protection Authority, 2003.

Protected Species Handling Manual (2nd Edition) [507kb]

Coastal Ecological Floodplain Manual

Coastal floodplains and all their component habitats are linked with their surroundings. Floodplain management and conservation must be pursued in the context of an integrated approach to environmental conservation and ecologically sustainable development.

Striking a balance between usage and maintaining ecological values is the key to successful management. For many floodplains the balance needs to be restored by implementing rehabilitation programs aimed at repairing some or all of the ecosystem components. This Manual is intended as a guide towards that balance.

Bycatch Solutions

The Purpose of This Handbook:

  • to provide ideas and contacts for commercial fishers in non-trawl fisheries, who wish to address bycatch issues either because they have to as part of a management plan or want to for personal reasons.
  • to help reduce costs to industry by providing solutions from one location/fishery that may be easily adaptable to another.
  • to stimulate the development of new ideas about and solutions for addressing bycatch issues.
  • to provide guidance for new entrants to the fishing industry.
  • to provide a resource for educators and interested members of the public.

Solving bycatch issues should be a priority for industry.

Maintaining Biodiversity in Sustainable Marine Fisheries. A Review and Scoping of Future Directions. Report Series 15. 1999

The development of sustainable marine fisheries will require acceptance that fisheries do affect some elements of marine biodiversity. The extent of the impacts of current fishing activities has not been measured fully, so decisions by the public about the acceptability of fishing in biodiversity terms are difficult and not well informed, and this uncertainty is creating a difficult commercial operating environment for fisheries. This review outlines the main biodiversity issues for marine fisheries, suggests some of the reasons why these matters have become issues and describes recent approaches to resolve them. The review identifies a range of new approaches and actions that will be needed to begin to identify and reduce the effects of fishing on biodiversity, improve the public’s knowledge about the real impacts of fishing on biodiversity, and hence encourage an informed debate about the limits of acceptable change with respect to the impacts of fishing.

The report was prepared by the Environment and Access Committee of the Australian Seafood Industry Council and funded by Environment Australia.

Hoppers in Australian Trawl Fisheries – A Handbook for Fishers

The Purpose of this Handbook

This Handbook aims to:

  • detail the design, operation and use of hoppers (back deck water tanks/sorting devices) in trawl fisheries across Australia;
  • enable the sharing of industry knowledge on hoppers amongst fishers from all Australian trawl fisheries;
  • provide readily accessible information to fishers on the use and application of hoppers;
  • facilitate the broader adoption among trawl fisheries of best practice use of hoppers. I fisheries where hoppers are not yet widely used but may be useful, help stimulate the development and uptake of new and suitable hopper designs; and
  • provide a tool to inform and educate the general community, fisheries and environmental managers about the initiatives developed and adopted by Australian trawl fisheries to reduce the impacts of trawling on the aquatic environment, and to work towards achieving sustainable operating practices and improved economic efficiency.

This handbook is primarily a technical handbook for fishers. It is also however, a useful resource for others interested in the environmental management of Australian trawl fisheries.

The information presented in this handbook has been obtained through interviews and discussions with many trawl fishers across Australia, hopper manufacturers and through surveys conducted with fishers, researchers, fishing companies and other industry bodies.

An Industry Driven Initiative

Hoppers are a practical and efficient sorting device. Sorting the catch is quicker and easier and hoppers keep the target product and bycatch in better condition as they are held in seawater and not exposed to air on the back deck of the trawler.

The design, development and installation of hoppers on trawlers in Australia has been an initiative from industry. Large hoppers were first developed for trawlers in northern Australian waters in the early 1980′s as a means of improving the quality of large catches of prawns that were exposed to the tropical heat during sorting and processing.

By dropping the trawl catch into a container of seawater on the back deck of the trawler rather than onto a dry sorting tray, prawns are not exposed to air and can “rest” in the seawater after the stress of capture. This allows the prawns to return to their normal colour and to hold their freshness while waiting for sorting, therefore providing a higher quality final product.

Along with improved product quality, hoppers have also improved processing efficiency. The use of a hopper therefore, provides strong economic benefits and as a result, have now been installed on a large number of prawn and scampi trawlers that operate in Australia’s northern waters.

Hoppers are also used in other temperate and southern Australian prawn trawl fisheries, although their uptake has not been as widespread and to date, has mostly been limited by the size of the vessel and cost of the hoppers. A number of vessels in the Scallop Fishery and Pilbara Finfish Fishery in Western Australia, Stout Whiting Fishery in Queensland and the Finfish Trawl Fishery off northern Australia have also adopted large hoppers. Small hoppers are also used in NSW Estuary Trawl Fisheries.

For copies of the handbook “Hoppers in Australian Trawl Fisheries” contact OceanWatch Australia.

Reducing Plastics in the Seafood Industry

This desktop feasibility study has identified that there is great opportunity for the Australian seafood industry to undertake actions to reduce plastics usage across the supply chain.