Compliance measures

The SBT Plan and associated legislation outline measures which ensure there is a high level of compliance with management arrangements for the SBT Fishery. The measures in place to monitor compliance with arrangements include:

  • the requirement to carry a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), which enables monitoring of the movement of vessels within the fishery. Information provided through the VMS includes the vessel’s location, course and speed;
  • the observers on board aim to cover at least 10 per cent of catch and effort in line with the CCSBT requirement, which allows for monitoring and recording of all the observed catch by an independent person. Observers are also able to monitor an operator’s compliance with management arrangements and interaction with bycatch and protected species, in particular environmental management measures;
  • a formal process through which observers may raise any compliance related issues with the master of the vessel to ensure operators are aware of and comply with management measures;
  • provisional at sea estimates and bounds on under or overestimates in case of a serious incident during towing;
  • detailed verification and count requirements for transfer of SBT between purse seine, tow and grow-out pontoons to ensure compliance with quotas;
  • requirement to complete Catch Documentation Record (CDR) and Catch Documentation Scheme (CDS) paperwork for SBT product;
  • completion of shot-by-shot daily logbooks and provision of that data to AFMA and relevant researchers;
  • Electronic monitoring (e-monitoring) became mandatory for all full time boats in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery from 1 July 2015. E-monitoring is a targeted approach to collecting information on fishing activity, which integrates video, sensors and programmable loggers into a powerful data collection tool. This data is used to verify fishers’ log books.
  • at sea and in port inspection by fisheries compliance officers; and
  • an annual audit based system that includes reconciliation of catch, sales and export statistics by company.


The principle objectives of the observer program are to:

  • Monitor and record the day-to-day fishing operations;
  • Observe, record and report catch, effort, bycatch and fate of purse seine caught SBT, including monitoring tow operations;
  • Collect information on the vessel details including; search gear and methods, and fishing gear;
  • Collect biological data from fishing operations; and
  • Record all interactions and sightings of marine mammals, cetaceans and birds.


See AFMA Submission – EPBC Act Reassessment Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery April 2016