THE biggest reform in NSW commercial fishing in two decades kicked off recently, with the introduction of new quota and management arrangements.
NSW Primary Industries deputy director general Dr Geoff Allan said it was ‘day one’ of what will be a new and economically viable commercial fishing industry. “The NSW Government has delivered what was promised last year – less red tape, linkages between shares and catch or effort and most of all, more certainty for fishers to grow their businesses,” Dr Allan said. “We want to see a new generation of fishers coming into the industry because it’s now a place where people can invest with more confidence. After such a long process of trying to bring about change to commercial fisheries, it’s now time for the government to let fishers get on with the job of providing fresh NSW seafood.”
Since the reform’s inception, share linkages and revised management arrangements in most share classes have commenced, as well as new minimum shareholdings. This means, for example, a fisher out at sea has the opportunity to use more traps and unlicensed (unendorsed) crew to help them retrieve those traps. They will now spend less time at sea and it will be quicker and safer for them with the additional help on board.
Their reporting of quota landings will be done through a new online app instead of a paper logbook. They also have the opportunity to sell or lease out unused quota. Additionally, there has been a waiver on boat licence fees and free transfers of shares online.
The NSW Government will now focus on modernising compliance, investing in programs that build community confidence, assist the set-up of a peak industry body and look at innovative technology that will help to reduce the costs for fishers and the impact of their operations on the environment.