Implementing electronic monitoring systems as a means of independently monitoring seabird bycatch during fishing operations
Australia is implementing electronic monitoring systems in its Commonwealth-managed fisheries. A considerable range of electronic monitoring system trials, evaluation and pilot project activities have been undertaken by Australia in recent years. The results of these activities have been used to assist in the design and implementation of electronic monitoring, as a potentially cost-effective alternative to on board observers. Electronic monitoring is presently being considered by the Australian Government as an additional approach to independent monitoring under the proposed revised Threat Abatement Plan for the incidental catch (or bycatch) of seabird during oceanic longline fishing operations. Australian experience indicates that electronic monitoring relies on properly formulated legislative arrangements that provide an incentive to fishing operators to ensure the effective operation of electronic monitoring equipment, accurate recording of seabird bycatch in logbooks, while protecting the privacy and commercial value of data that are collected. As well, it is important that any decision to introduce electronic monitoring should be made on a fishery by fishery basis, taking into consideration the attributes of each fishery.