- Who we are
- Objectives, functions and powers
- AFMA Annual Reports
- Legislation and policy
- About our fisheries
- Tenders and other partnership opportunities
About our fisheries
The commercial fishing industry
Fish are a multi-billion dollar industry for Australia. They are our fifth largest food producing industry, in fact worth more than $2.2 billion to our economy every year. Fish are also a healthy source of food with Australians consuming around 16kg of fish and seafood per person each year, purchased from fish markets, supermarkets and food outlets.
The Australian Fisheries Management Authority manages more than 20 Commonwealth fisheries. These are worth around $320 million in production value alone (Australian Fisheries Statistics 2011, ABARES).
The largest of these by value are the Northern Prawn, Southern Bluefin Tuna, Eastern Tuna and Billfish fisheries, and the Commonwealth Trawl sector and Gillnet, Hook and Trap sectors of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (providing much of the table fish for east Australian residents).
The Australian Fishing Zone
The Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ) is the third largest in the world, covering nearly nine million square kilometres. It extends to 200 nautical miles from the Australian coastline and also includes the waters surrounding our external territories, such as Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean, and Heard and McDonald Islands in the Antarctic.
AFMA manages Commonwealth commercial fisheries. In general, these extend from 3 nautical miles out to the extent of the AFZ. The states and Northern Territory are responsible for the majority of recreational and commercial coastal and inland fishing, and inland and coastal aquaculture operations.
AFMA shares responsibility for managing some fisheries with the States and Northern Territory; however a general rule of thumb is that States and the Northern Territory manage inshore species, such as rock lobster and abalone, while AFMA generally manages deeper water finfish and tuna species.
Our operating environment
- Australian fish stocks are generally in good shape and improving. Catch levels are set under harvest strategies that provide for more abundant target species than previous settings. Rebuilding and other management strategies are in place or soon to be in place for Australian fish stocks that need to be rebuilt. Fish stocks managed under international agreements make up a significant portion of Australian fisheries and AFMA provides technical advice to the responsible bodies.
- Global economic pressures affect the Australian fishing industry both positively and negatively. While fuel costs are reduced, international markets have also contracted and the industry will continue to adapt to changing economic conditions. Managing fisheries with tradeable access rights and ensuring robust fish stocks is how AFMA assists industry to adapt to these changing economic conditions.
- The cost‑effectiveness of fisheries management is an ongoing challenge in Australia’s large, diverse and relatively sparsely populated marine environment. The job is to tune the costs of management to maximising the net economic returns from the management of fisheries while effectively managing ecological risk. The Australian Government’s policy settings for fisheries management and cost recovery provide firm incentives for efficiency.
- Climate change is a factor AFMA is watching. We do not anticipate a need for specific fisheries management actions in the near term, but we continue to monitor research into the effects of climate change on the marine environment and fisheries. Research predicts climate change will affect the distribution of fish stocks over time.
- The South East Asian region and oceans surrounding Australia are heavily fished legally and illegally. Australia works with our neighbours to combat illegal fishing. Constant vigilance and capability are essential, and AFMA is a key participant in the Australian Government’s efforts to deter illegal fishing and protect our borders.
- Changes in the Gillnet, Hook and Trap Sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery to Protect Dolphins
- Draft Shark Plan 2
- Changes in the Gillnet, Hook and Trap Sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery
- Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery Management arrangements booklet 2011
- Freedom of Information