November 2018
This is the final annual report for MIT2017-01: Protected species liaison project


To facilitate the ongoing efforts of fishers in reducing protected species bycatch, Liaison Officers were deployed in three fisheries in 2017/18: surface longline, Fisheries Management Area 1 (FMA 1) bottom longline, and Otago coastal trawl. Liaison Officers conducted a series of port calls visiting vessels in their fisheries, sharing information with vessel operators, skippers and crew, and providing advice from shore when bycatch events occurred at sea. A Coordinator supported Liaison Officer activities, communicated with Programme participants and stakeholders and provided whole-of-programme reporting through the year.

The 2017/18 Liaison Programme commenced with a workshop to develop systems, processes, and documentation. Liaison Officers then used a variety of sources to develop up-to-date lists of the vessels active in their fleets, and started working with those vessels to produce Protected Species Risk Management Plans (PSRMPs) and document practices in place to reduce protected species bycatch risks. Liaison Officers lodged the information they collected in an online information management system. PSRMP implementation on vessels was then audited by Government fisheries observers.

During their visits to vessels in port, Liaison Officers also distributed materials to assist the implementation of mitigation measures (e.g. tori line streamer materials). Further, throughout the term of their contracts, Liaison Officers responded to bycatch trigger events as reported from vessels. Triggers were developed as a risk management tool, to prompt vessel operators to evaluate their mitigation strategies, and seek Liaison Officers’ input to work on reducing future capture risks.

In 2017/18, 34, 37 and 12 PSRMPs were developed for surface longline, FMA 1 bottom longline, and Otago coastal trawl vessels respectively. Plans covered both regulatory measures and voluntary approaches to protected species bycatch reduction. In all fisheries, a range of measures are documented, with the content of Plans being most diverse amongst vessels in the FMA 1 bottom longline fishery.

Observer audit information was received from 13 surface longline and 12 bottom longline trips. For surface liners, differences between practices documented in PSRMPs and those reported from audits mostly related to the management of fish waste discharge. The diversity and relative flexibility in practice that characterised bottom longline PSRMPs, and the fields in the audit form, made audits challenging in some areas. However, similar to the surface longline fishery, there were some differences in the management of fish waste discharge between PSRMPs and audit reports. There were no observer audits conducted in the Otago coastal trawl fishery.

In 2017/18, 25 and 11 trigger events were reported from surface and FMA 1 bottom longline fisheries, respectively. There were no triggers reported from Otago coastal trawl fisheries. Liaison Officers responded to triggers by working with operators to identify and address bycatch risks to reduce the likelihood of future captures when possible.

Publication information

Pierre, J. 2018. Protected Species Liaison Coordination 2017/18. Final Report prepared by JPEC for the Conservation Services Programme, Department of Conservation. 36p.


Conservation Services Programme
Department of Conservation
PO Box 10-420
Wellington 6143


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