Commercial fisheries reform seeks comment

COMMERCIAL fishers and other stakeholders are now encouraged to provide feedback as part of the reform program for NSW commercial fishing, Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson said today.

Ms Hodgkinson said the Commercial Fisheries Reform Program was developed in response to an Independent Review into NSW Commercial Fisheries Policy, Management and Administration in 2012.

“The proposed reforms involve linking shares in each fishery to either catch or fishing effort,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“The NSW Government has developed a $16 million structural adjustment package to provide for fishers to exit the industry and to help others set up their businesses for the future.

“The reform program aims to remove unnecessary fishing controls and improve the general management of commercial fisheries in NSW.

“The reform options papers, prepared by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI), have been sent directly to commercial fishing shareholders, who can provide feedback using the included submission form, or by preparing their own submission.

“The papers are also publicly available online on the DPI website and all interested parties are invited to lodge a submission.”

The released public consultation papers outline the reform options that may apply to each of the major commercial fisheries. These include:

·         estuary general;

·         estuary prawn trawl;

·         ocean hauling;

·         ocean trap and line; and

·         ocean trawl.

Ms Hodgkinson encouraged all stakeholders to help select the best approach to manage and improve the viability of the NSW commercial fishing sector and maintain the supply of fresh local seafood to restaurants, wholesalers, and people who do not fish recreationally.

“It is important to note that no decisions have been made at this stage on the options for linking shares to catch or fishing effort in each commercial fishery,” Ms Hodgkinson said.

“The only exception to this is for the spanner crab (northern zone) sector where I previously approved a link between shares and catch quota after consultation with those shareholders.

“DPI staff will visit a number of ports during the next six weeks to discuss the issues and options in the consultation papers with commercial fishers.

“At the completion of the consultation process, a summary of submissions, input from key stakeholder groups and advice from DPI will be provided to the Independent Structural Adjustment Review Committee (SARC).

“SARC will then prepare final recommendations for the consideration of the NSW Government.”

All reform options papers and further information regarding the Commercial Fisheries Reform Program can be found at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/commercial/reform

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