Feature story

AFMA celebrates 20 years of managing Commonwealth fisheries

On 3 February 2012 AFMA marked its 20th birthday, recognised with this special 20 year edition of the annual report.

In 1992 the authority keenly set out to protect Australia’s fishing future. AFMA’s focus was and is to ensure Commonwealth fisheries are managed efficiently and cost effectively in a way that takes into account the impact of fishing activities and encourages ecologically sustainable development.

Over the last 20 years AFMA has developed a good working relationship with commercial fishing industry, researchers, environment and conservation organisations, recreational fishing and Indigenous interests and other government agencies.

AFMA has seen many changes over this time with major fisheries now managed under statutory management plans with output controlled management systems. In this time we have moved from single species approach to setting catch limits for fisheries to a more holistic approach in line with the Commonwealth Harvest Strategy Policy and taking account of ecosystem impacts through AFMA’s Ecological Risk Assessment Framework. Improvements and changes in management will continue with ongoing development of approaches such as co management which aims to provide a mechanism to actively involve stakeholders in the ongoing management of Australia’s fisheries resources.

Managing Australia’s Commonwealth fisheries, enforcing compliance domestically and preventing and enforcing illegal foreign fishing in the Australian Fishing Zone has proven challenging indeed. The authority has many achievements over its lifetime and key amongst them has been pursuing the 1989 Policy Statement commitment of implementing quota management in Commonwealth fisheries.

AFMA staff who have reached 10 years of service and 20 years of service received awards at the 20-year celebrations.
From left to right; John Marrington (on the screen behind, joining by video conference from the Thursday Island
office – 20 years), Paul Ryan (20 years), Sharon Green (10 years), CEO Dr James Findlay, Yvonne Zunic (20 years), Adi Ploy
(20 years), Commission Chair the Hon Michael Egan, Justine Johnston (10 years), Mike Yates (20 years), Peter Neave (20 years), Peter Venslovas (20 years) and John Andersen (10 years).