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    Scientific requirements for an orderly development of the krill fishery

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    A. Constable, G. Slocum and S. Nicol (Australia)
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    At CCAMLR XXV Australia presented the results of the BROKE-West acoustic krill biomass survey. These were used by the Scientific Committee to recommend to the Commission a revised precautionary catch limit for krill in Statistical Division 58.4.2 of 1.49 million tonnes (up from 450 000 tonnes). During the Commission deliberations on this issue Australia noted that while the scientific data supported the large increase in the precautionary catch limit, such a large increase required the inclusion of other elements in the conservation measure to facilitate the orderly and precautionary development of the fishery. The aim of this paper, which Australia committed to present to this year’s WG-EMM, is to outline the scientific requirements related to the orderly development of the krill fishery, and to provide justification for why they are important. Not all of the requirements outlined below are required to be established immediately, however at a minimum there needs to be mechanisms developed to ensure that they are in place prior to any problems arising in the fishery. The rationale for the timing of these requirements is also provided. The paper recommends that in keeping with the precautionary approach, steps need to be taken to establish when, relative to the scale of the fishery, different arrangements need to be set in place. The following is recommended for ensuring the orderly development of the krill fishery: (i) Undertake krill stock surveys in areas with no precautionary catch limits in order to establish a catch limit before fishing is prosecuted in these areas. (ii) Establish small-scale management units to minimise localised impacts on krill predators prior to a threshold being reached, where the threshold is determined as the magnitude of catch that, if it were taken from one location, would avoid impacting on the predators dependent on that location for food, and allow for the reasonable development of the fishery. (iii) Establish a threshold capacity for the fishery relative to the catch limits (small or large scale spatial limits) such that the capacity (effort) of a fishery should not expand beyond what might be just enough to take the catch limit for a given area until the system for managing the catch limits is in place. (iv) Develop a program to monitor and observe krill catch and by-catch, with methods for minimising by-catch in krill fisheries developed early (if they are needed) so that satisfactory low-levels of by-catch are achieved from the outset.