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Seismic Survey To Avoid Tuna Migration Path

A seismic survey, set to take place at the start of next year, is expected with confidence to avoid the migration path of southern bluefin tuna. The research in the Great Australian Bight is awaiting approval from the commonwealth government.

Brian Jeffriess, Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association Chief Executive Officer, said that he was confident the survey that is planned for February until June 2014 would avoid the migration path of Southern bluefin tuna in the Bight. However, he said: “their proposed further survey from October 2014 to June 2015 will be directly in the Southern bluefin tuna migration path.”

Jeffriess added: “we are confident with careful cooperation between the tuna and seismic companies, interaction can be avoided.” He explained that bluefin tuna was an international stock and any impact on the fish from seismic activity in the Bight would reduce quotas for all countries catching the species.

Pointing to a 2011 and 2012 survey of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Jeffriess stated that the worst ever result was returned for the fishery, after a seismic operation had been conducted in the area. “Fortunately the 2012/13 CSIRO survey returned to normal when there was no seismic activity,” he said.

“Another bad CSIRO result in any of 2014-2016, for whatever reason, would almost certainly result in a quota cut”, he added. “This is a big risk for the international bluefin tuna countries to take. Therefore, we are asking all applicants for seismic surveys in the western Greater Australian Bight to do their surveys outside the areas and timing of the Southern bluefin tuna migration and residence periods.”