Annual appropriation

The amount of public monies authorised by parliament for expenditure from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for a particular year.

Australian Fishing Zone

Waters adjacent to Australia and its external territories (excluding Torres Strait and the Antarctic territories) which extend from defined baselines to 200 nautical mile zones of other nations. Within the Australian Fishing Zone, Australia exercises jurisdiction over all fishing by Australian and foreign boats.

Bilateral agreement

A government to government agreement between Australia and another nation allowing vessels of that nation to fish in the Australian Fishing Zone.


In its broadest sense, all living and non-living material (except for the target species) that is caught while fishing, including by-product, discards and that part of the catch which does not reach the deck but is affected by interactions with the fishing gear. For the purposes of the Commonwealth bycatch policy, bycatch is defined more narrowly as discards and that part of the catch which does not reach the deck but is affected by interactions with the fishing gear.


Any part of the catch that is kept or sold by the fisher but is not the target species.

demersal trawl

Trawl gear designed to work on or near the sea bed, used to take demersal species of fish and prawns.


Any part of the catch returned to the sea, whether dead or alive.

fishing capacity

The amount of fishing effort that a fishing boat, or a fleet of fishing boats, could exert if used to its full potential.

fishing concession

A statutory fishing right, or a fishing permit, or a foreign fishing boat licence granted under the provisions of the Fisheries Management Act 1991.

fishing permit

A type of fishing concession granted under section 32 of the Fisheries Management Act 1991 to a person, authorising the use of a specified Australian boat by that person, or a person acting on that person’s behalf, for fishing in a specified area of the Australian Fishing Zone or a specified fishery for specified species, using specified equipment.

fully fished

A term used to describe a fish stock for which current catches are close to sustainable levels, so that any increase in fishing may lead to overfishing.

incidental catch

Any part of the catch that is not the target species, including bycatch and by-product.

individual transferable quotas

Individual portions of a total allowable catch—units of quota—that allow the holder to catch that portion of the total allowable catch each season. The weight value of the individual transferable quotas changes in proportion to changes in the total allowable catch set for a species each season. Individual transferable quotas are fully tradeable and can be sold or leased to other fishers.

input controls

Restrictions placed on the amount of effort put into a fishery, for example by restricting types and size of fishing gear and boats and the amount of fishing time.

limited entry

Management arrangements restricting the number of operators allowed to fish in a particular fishery. New operators may only gain access to the fishery by purchasing an existing right.

longline fishing

A method of fishing that can be either surface-set (pelagic) or bottom-set (demersal) line fishing. Both methods use a mainline attached to branch lines, with each branch line fitted with one or more baited hooks or artificial lures.

memorandum of understanding (MoU) box

The area of the Australian Fishing Zone where traditional fishing by Indonesian nationals is permitted.

mid-water trawling

A form of trawling in which the net is off the sea bottom at all times. Such nets have large mouths and are used for targeting pelagic and semi-pelagic fish schools.

non-target species

See incidental catch.

Offshore Constitutional Settlement

An agreement between one or more states and the Australian Government giving individual or joint jurisdiction for a particular fishery that is in both coastal waters and the Australian Fishing Zone. When no Offshore Constitutional Settlement agreement has been reached, the fishery remains under the jurisdiction of the state out to three nautical miles, and of the Australian Government from three nautical miles to 200 nautical miles.

output controls

Restrictions imposed on the quantity of fish that can be taken from a fishery within a specified period of time. This can be by either a competitive total allowable catch or a total allowable catch allocated to participants as individual transferable quotas.


A term used to describe a fish stock for which levels of fishing or catches are excessive, or that still reflects the effects of earlier excessive fishing. In the former case, yields may be higher in the long term if the fishing level is reduced in the short term. A classification of ‘overfished’ may continue after fishing levels are reduced while the stock rebuilds to a desired level or until it is acceptable to resume fishing.

pelagic fish

Fish that are normally caught at or near the sea surface or in the water column.

pelagic longlining

A fishing method that targets pelagic fish species. A pelagic longline involves a mainline attached to branch lines, with each branch line fitted with one or more baited hooks or artificial lures. A pelagic longline is set so that the mainline, branch lines and hooks are suspended above the seabed by floats at the sea surface.

precautionary principle

A principle asserting that a degree of scientific uncertainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation in situations where there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage.

quota management

A method of management based on output controls that allocates the total allowable catch among eligible operators as shares in the annual total allowable catch.

Statutory Fishing Rights

Rights granted under section 21 of the Fisheries Management Act 1991. The nature of statutory fishing rights in a fishery is detailed in the plan of management that creates those rights. A statutory fishing right may be a right to use a boat, a unit of fishing gear or a quantity of catch, or other rights as identified in the management plan.

strategic assessment reports

Reports that consider the impacts of a fishery on target, by-product and bycatch species and the broader marine environment. They are required by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

sustainable yield

The maximum catch that can be taken from a fishery over an indefinite period without causing the stocks to be depleted.

target species

The species being sought by fishers.

Torres Strait Protected Zone Joint Authority

An authority comprising the Commonwealth Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (Chairperson), the Queensland Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries and the Chair of the Torres Strait Regional Authority. The authority is responsible for monitoring the condition of the jointly managed fisheries and for the formulation of policies and plans for their management.

Torres Strait Treaty

The treaty between Australia and Papua New Guinea concerned with sovereignty, management and maritime boundaries in the area between the two countries and the protection of the way of life and livelihood of traditional inhabitants and the marine environment.

total allowable catch

The amount of fish of a particular species that can be taken from a fishery in a prescribed period. Total allowable catches are set for fish species managed either through individual transferable quotas or through competitive total allowable catches.


A term used to describe a fish stock thats status is unknown because there is inadequate or inappropriate information to form a reliable assessment. The species may be underfished, fully fished or overfished.