ECOLOGICAL RISK ASSESSMENT OF AUTOLINE LONGLINE FISHING
This ecological risk assessment is presented in support of the preliminary assessment of bottom fishing activities in 2008-2009 for New Zealand: implementing Conservation Measure 22-06 (Bottom Fishing in the Convention Area).
Ecological risk assessment (Standards New Zealand and Standards Australia 2006) is evolving in international fisheries fora as a preferred approach to examine fisheries impacts where information is incomplete or uncertain (e.g. Waugh et. al. 2008). This approach allows effective targeting of more detailed monitoring, clarification of research requirements, and a robust approach to precautionary management of the effects of fishing where information is incomplete or uncertain (Waugh et. al. 2008).
The ecological risk assessment reported herein is a Level 1 approach designed to identify hazards to species and systems using qualitative data and expert opinion.
The ecological risk assessment involved three key steps: the compilation of relevant information (e.g. SC-CIRC-08/30); an expert workshop to review the information and agree key analytical frameworks; and, post workshop analysis to deliver the required output.
The expert workshop was held over two days. The workshop reviewed the fishing method in detail, determined a preliminary list of potentially vulnerable taxa including additional indicator species and reviewed the fishery effort to date. That information was used to undertake an assessment of the likely impact of the gear, calculate a footprint and thus estimate the likely impact of the method at the scale of the fishery on potential VMEs. The workshop also discussed fishery independent information and potential responses to the identified impacts.