Operators face increased fines for fisheries offences

Rules and regulations are an important part of fisheries management as they protect Australia’s fishery resources for current and future generations, and help to ensure the sustainability of the broader marine environment.

The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) takes breaches of the rules seriously, and reminds Concession holders that from mid-2017 the Commonwealth Fisheries Infringement Notices (CFINS) became more expensive.

From July 1 2017 the value of a Commonwealth Penalty Unit increased from $180 to $210, and will increase every three years in line with legislation amendments to the Crimes Act 1914.

Commonwealth penalty units determine the dollar value of the fine operators receive for breaching the rules. The fine or penalty is calculated by multiplying the value of one penalty unit by the number of penalty units for the offence.

Breaches of the rules and regulations that may incur penalties include:

  • quota evasion
  • failing to report interactions with protected species
  • bycatch mishandling 

AFMA fisheries officers can issue CFINS for fisheries related offences under part 10 section 39 of the Fisheries Management Regulations 1992.

 The fine will be the lesser of:

  • one-fifth of the maximum penalty that a court could impose on the person for that contravention, and
  • twelve penalty units ($2,520) where the person is an individual, or 60 penalty units ($12,600) where the person is a body corporate.

If you have any queries regarding the new CFIN amounts please contact Tod Spencer, Senior Manager, of National Compliance Strategy, at AFMA on (02) 6225 5555, or via email tod.spencer@afma.gov.au.