From 1 May 2011 agencies subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme. This requirement is in Part II of the Act and has replaced the former requirement to publish a section 8 statement in an annual report. An agency plan showing what information is published in accordance with the Information Publication Scheme is accessible from agency websites.

This statement is published in accordance with section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

For the 2010–11 financial year AFMA received five requests for information.

Structure, functions and decision making powers of AFMA

The structure and functions of AFMA can be found here.

AFMA decisions are made under the Fisheries Management Act 1991, Fisheries Administration Act 1991, and plans of management for Commonwealth fisheries managed by AFMA. In some cases, AFMA’s decision-making processes also include consideration of primary and subordinate legislations on matters relating to the imposition of levies.

Decisions made by AFMA include:

  • the granting and transfer of fishing concessions, which include Statutory Fishing Rights, fishing permits, foreign fishing boat licences and scientific permits
  • the suspension and cancellation of fishing concessions;
  • the determination of levies payable.

AFMA also holds delegations in relation to specific powers and functions on behalf of the Minister and the Torres Strait Protected Zone Joint Authority under the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984.

Arrangements for external participation

AFMA’s legislation and policies provide for consultation with the fishing industry, other stakeholders and the general community in developing fisheries management arrangements for Commonwealth fisheries.

The consultation process includes the consideration of views from:

  • management advisory committees
  • fishery assessment groups
  • commercial fishing industry
  • State/territory government agencies responsible for fisheries management
  • environmental organisations
  • recreational fishing interests
  • Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders
  • others whose interests may be affected by, or whose views may usefully contribute to, effective fisheries management.

In the making of plans of management and the allocation of Statutory Fishing Rights, the legislation requires public notice to be given of the availability of a draft plan or intention to grant Statutory Fishing Rights, and inviting public comment.

In other cases where major decisions are to be made, those directly affected are informed individually and are invited to comment. Where appropriate and if required, public meetings are held. Notice of those meetings is published in the Commonwealth Gazette, newspapers and AFMA’s newsletter to industry, AFMA Update.

Categories of documents in the possession of AFMA

Specific Files: AFMA keeps specific files in the names of particular persons, names of particular boats or particular subjects.

General Files: Subjects include management, information technology, human resources, finance and legal. Files may contain correspondence and minutes, reports and submissions, computer printouts, briefing papers, pleadings and legally privileged information.

Mailing Lists: Mailing lists are held for sending information to AFMA’s clients.

Databases: AFMA maintains a number of databases for purposes associated with its specified functions.

Registers: AFMA keeps register of fishing rights holders in specified managed fisheries. Maintenance of a register is mandatory in those fisheries for which a statutory management plan is in force. Included are a register of permit holders and a high seas register, both of which are public registers.

Series of documents as published on the AFMA website are free of charge from AFMA (or subject to postage):

  • media releases
  • AFMA Update and levy newsletters, bulletins and public information papers
  • statutory management plans
  • management arrangement booklets & informational booklets
  • directions and determinations made under statutory management plans
  • discussion papers on proposed management arrangements
  • strategic assessments
  • bycatch action plans
  • environmental updates
  • public fisheries research reports
  • logbook data summaries
  • principles and policy guidelines for the application of vessel monitoring systems
  • maps

Copies of extracts from registers are available for purchase from AFMA.

Facilities for access to documents

Once AFMA has notified an applicant in writing that access to a document or other material has been granted, and following payment of any appropriate fees, AFMA will either mail the material to the applicant or the applicant can peruse the material at AFMA’s headquarters at:

6th Floor
73 Northbourne Avenue

Special arrangements may be made where access to original material is required interstate.

Accessing documents

Requests for access to documents may be made to:

Attention: Freedom of Information Officer
Australian Fisheries Management Authority
PO Box 7051
Canberra Business Centre

Ph: 1300 723 621 or (02) 6225 5555
Fax: (02) 6225 5500

Further information can be found on AFMA’s website, including in the plan published by AFMA under s8(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 1982.