Statutory fishing rights

Statutory fishing rights are granted under Section 31 of the Fisheries Management Act 1991 (the Act) where statutory management plans, determined under Section 17 of the Act, exist for a Commonwealth managed fishery.

Statutory fishing rights are granted for the following fisheries:

  • Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery
  • Northern Prawn Fishery
  • Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery
  • Heard Island and McDonald Islands fisheries
  • Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery
  • Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery
  • Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery
  • Small Pelagic Fishery.

Separate rights exist for each of these fisheries, and allow the holder of those rights to:

  • take a particular quantity of fish (quota statutory fishing rights)
  • use a boat in the fishery (boat statutory fishing rights)
  • use a particular quantity of fishing equipment (gear statutory fishing rights).

Statutory fishing rights can only be nominated to an Australian boat, as defined in the Section 4 of the Fisheries Management Act 1991.

 Statutory fishing rights can be permanently transferred to another person or company, or leased. Records of these transactions are statutory fishing rights by AFMA.

Fishing permits

Commonwealth fishing permits, granted under Section 32 of the Fisheries Management Act 1991, allow commercial fishing for Commonwealth managed species and high seas if applicable.

Permits specify the area of operation, the boat being used, and other conditions, including fishing methods used and species taken. Permits may also be granted for the carrying or processing of fish taken by another boat and for testing fishing equipment.

The boat nominated for fishing against a fishing permit must be an Australian boat, as defined in the Section 4 of the Fisheries Management Act 1991.

Permits can be granted for a maximum of five years, however in most fisheries they are granted for one year at a time, and holders of those permits may apply to have them granted annually.

Currently, there are no additional fishing permits being granted, but most permits may be transferred to another person, or another boat may be nominated in substitution for the original boat while the permit is current.

Permits can be suspended or cancelled by AFMA under certain circumstances.

Fish receiver permits

These permits, granted under Section 91 of the Fisheries Management Act 1991, are required where the management arrangements for a specified fishery require that receivers of fish, e.g. fish processors, wholesalers and retailers, hold a fish receiver permit.

Currently, a fish receiver permit is required for fish received from fishers in the:

  • Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery
  • Coral Sea Fishery
  • Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Fishery
  • Southern Squid Jig Fishery
  • Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery
  • Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery
  • Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery
  • Skipjack Tuna Fisheries
  • Small Pelagic Fishery
  • South Tasman Rise.

Fish receiver permits are granted for 12 months. They cannot be transferred. An application fee must be submitted to AFMA along with a completed application form. Please also see the list of current Fish Receiver Permit holders for more information.

Fish receiver permits comply with the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna’s Catch Documentation Scheme which applies to all southern bluefin tuna sold domestically or exported. Under the scheme each fish must be tagged, weighed and measured and have the correct accompanying documentation before it can be exported or sold domestically.

Fish receivers must register with AFMA to receive southern bluefin tuna and comply with the fish receiver permit conditions.

Scientific permits

Scientific permits are granted for the purposes of conducting scientific research in a specified area of the Australian Fishing Zone or in a specified fishery.

An application made for the grant of a scientific permit must contain information that AFMA requires for proper consideration of the application.

Scientific permits are not transferable and no application fee applies. Scientific permits are granted for a maximum of six months.

These permits are granted under Section 33 of the Fisheries Management Act 1991Fisheries Management Paper 11  sets out a policy for granting of scientific permits by AFMA. Scientific permit applications sent to AFMA seeking approval to conduct new research projects, need to be submitted using the AFMA approved form accompanied by a detailed proposal outlining the projects aims, objectives and methods. AFMA may seek further information or documentation as required.

More information

Guide to applying to have AFMA declare a boat to be an Australian boat

Fisheries Management Act 1991

Shipping Registration Act 1981

Shipping Registration Regulations 1981