Management of Australia’s Fisheries

  • The management of Australia‚Äôs fisheries is divided between ¬†State and Commonwealth (Federal) governments. State and Territory fisheries agencies have similar types of management strategies, and these include fishery-specific management plans.
  • State and Territory waters extend from inland and sheltered waters up to three nautical miles from the coast. Commonwealth waters extend from 3 nautical miles out to the limit of the Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ).
  • Because fish don‚Äôt recognise borders, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) shares responsibility for managing some fisheries with the States and the Northern Territory.
  • Each state and Territory Government has a Fisheries Agency responsible for managing both commercial and recreational fishing as well as aquaculture operations. Each state manages their marine resources under a number of state and commonwealth acts and regulations.
  • Fishery management plans identify objectives, describe fishing concessions (i.e., statutory fishing rights, quotas, fishing permits and foreign fishing licenses), allocation procedures and also specifiy the rules governing fishers.
  • The plans use three key tools to manage the fishery.¬† These tools apply to both ¬†recreational and commercial fishers and include :
    • effort controls (e.g., restrictions on type of gear, use of limited entry licenses, use of area and seasonal closures)
    • output controls (eg. use of quotas, bag limits and size limits)
    • use of habitat protection (eg area restrictions for valuable or vulnerable areas such as nurseries and marine parks).
  • Many fisheries are managed by Quotas or the Total Allowable Catch of a species per year, and these are determined by agencies in conjunction with marine scientists.
  • Fisheries management must be approved by the Commonwealth Environment agency (DEWHA), before export permits for products are issued.
  • Management Plans are fisheries-specific and are subject to regular review (usually every 5 years).
  • Management Plans for all fisheries are available in both hardcopy and usually electronically on the management agency’s website.