When developing and implementing fisheries management arrangements, AFMA works in partnership with key stakeholders including Indigenous interests, commercial fishing operators and associations, charter fishing, researchers, recreational and environment/conservation organisations and where appropriate, others who have an interest in how Australia’s Commonwealth fisheries are managed.

AFMA engages with stakeholder groups through a variety of avenues, including management advisory committees, liaison officers, port visits, newsletters, AFMA Update and direct mail across all major Commonwealth fisheries. These mechanisms provide an important advisory function and maintain an open dialogue between AFMA and those with an interest in the management of the fisheries.

As part of the multi-agency Border Protection Command, we provide specialist fisheries advice to the maritime security community and are on-call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The Border Protection Command delivers an integrated approach to Australia’s maritime security threats and a key part of its success is the progress made by a number of Australian Government agencies in working with countries to develop their capacity in maritime security.

With these agencies, AFMA is building strategic partnerships with countries to exchange information, provide training support and facilitate officer exchange programs that enhance our region’s capacity to maximise fisheries resources sustainably.

Communication channels

The Fisheries Management Act 1991 contains specific provisions on the communication and consultation processes and channels for communicating information about regulation. This is particularly important when management plans for the different fisheries under the control of the Commonwealth are being developed or amended by AFMA.

AFMA communicates formally in writing with all Commonwealth fishing concession holders regarding regulation of their access to Commonwealth fisheries.

In addition to statutory processes, AFMA consults extensively with stakeholders on management decisions. The main point of contact with stakeholders is through management advisory committees for each of the major fisheries. For further information on management advisory committees see pages 139-141.

Stakeholders are regularly updated about changes to regulations, Commission decisions and other changes via the AFMA website, and through our fortnightly newsletter AFMA Update which is sent directly to subscribers and also made available on the website.

AFMA also conveys information about regulation at port visits and public meetings. Open port meetings are a regular occurrence in fisheries and are always held to discuss proposed new management plans.

AFMA also has the ability to use Integrated Computer Vessel Monitoring Systems (ICVMS), a satellite based system, to communicate with fishing vessels via text message and email anywhere in the world. 

Management advisory committees

AFMA’s management advisory committees are established under the Fisheries Administration Act 1991 to assist AFMA in the management of its fisheries.

They comprise a chair, an AFMA fisheries manager, up to seven other members and, in some instances, additional invited participants.

Members generally have experience as commercial fishers, processors, environmentalists, marine researchers, recreational fishers, charter boat operators and representatives from relevant state and Australian Government agencies.

The committees that operated throughout 2011-12 are as follows:

• Tropical Tuna Management Advisory Committee (TTMAC)

• Great Australian Bight Management Advisory Committee (GABMAC)

• Northern Prawn Fishery Management Advisory Committee (NORMAC)

• Southern Bluefin Tuna Management Advisory Committee (SBTMAC)

• Bass Strait Central Zone Scallop Management Advisory Committee (ScallopMAC)

• South East Management Advisory Committee (SEMAC)

• Sub-Antarctic Management Advisory Committee (SouthMAC)

AFMA will work closely with the Great Australian Bight Management Advisory Committee and the South East Management Advisory Committee on transitioning these two management advisory committees to a single management advisory committee by 1 July 2013.

For information on specific management advisory committees, their memberships and meetings held during 2011-12, see appendix 4.

Client service charter

AFMA’s Client Service Charter sets out the services and standards that all clients or stakeholders can expect from AFMA. It applies to all of AFMA’s fisheries administration and corporate services, including our licensing function. The Client Service Charter is available on AFMA’s website at

We have performed well against the customer service standards in our Client Service Charter this year. We are continuing to streamline processes to improve our customer service. In the 2011-12 financial year, GOFish, AFMA’s electronic licensing system, has assisted in improving the timeliness of responses for licensing transactions. GOFish allows concession holders to lease transfer concessions and nominate a selected boat without the assistance of AFMA licensing staff.

Around 69 per cent of fishing concession holders used GOFish during 2011-12. AFMA is aiming for a target of 80 per cent. We will be implementing a range of strategies in 2012-13 to increase the use of GOFish, including introducing a fee-for-service policy, which will allow concession holders to pay for the service they use.

Of the licensing transactions completed manually, 97 per cent were within the timeframes provided in the client service charter. This figure relates to manual transactions submitted by concession holders and responses to correspondence and information requests.

AFMA used MinCor4, an internal executive and ministerial correspondence tracking system, for the tracking of all key correspondence received by AFMA. 

During 2011-12 a complaint to the Commonwealth Ombudsman was resolved.