In Australian waters, commercial fisheries may interact with threatened and migratory species. These species are protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Bycatch occurs when a species is incidentally captured, injured or killed due to interactions with fishing equipment. Fishing practices are improving to avoid bycatch of threatened and migratory species. But there is more to do.
The Australian Government is helping to improve fisheries sustainability through a $3.9 million grants program. The Threatened and Migratory Species Fisheries Bycatch Mitigation Program is part of the $100 million Ocean Leadership package. The program is supporting practical actions and new technologies to reduce bycatch of threatened and migratory species in Australian fisheries.
The grants program was open for applications from 24 November 2022 to 23 January 2023. Seven projects will receive funding of $50,000 to $500,000. The projects target a range of threatened and migratory species including seabirds, cetaceans, sawfish, turtles, sea snakes, and sharks.
Grants have been offered to the following projects and organisations:
- Developing solutions to reduce the bycatch of speartooth sharks in the commercial wild-catch Mud Crab Fishery in Queensland - CSIRO and Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
- Trialling shark guard devices and other innovative equipment to reduce bycatch in commercial Barramundi fisheries in the Northern Territory - Charles Darwin University and partners
- Making Underwater Baitsetter devices available to be deployed in the commercial fishing industry in Queensland - Skadia Technologies Pty Ltd
- Trialling new innovative equipment to increase the numbers of sawfish that can escape from nets in Queensland and the Northern Territory - Northern Prawn Fishery Industry Pty Ltd and CSIRO
- Designing and trialling purpose-built nets and systems to mitigate interactions with seabirds in the South Coast Purse Seine Fishery in Western Australia - Western Australian Fishing Industry Council Inc
- Trialling the effectiveness of fisheye devices which allow sea snakes to escape from nets in Western Australia - Western Australian Fishing Industry Council Inc
- Trialling ropeless technologies in the New South Wales Ocean Trap and Line fishery to prevent interactions with migratory whales - Ocean Watch Australia Ltd.
A full summary of projects will be published on this page following the finalisation of grants agreements with organisations. Further information about the grant program can be found at Grants and programs finder.