The 2015-16 Annual Operational Plan sets out the actions we intend to take to further the Australian Fisheries Management Authority’s (AFMA’s) main goals as outlined in AFMA’s Corporate Plan 2015-2018.
These actions include:
- implementing fisheries management in pursuit of sustainable and profitable fisheries
- simplifying regulation
- managing ecological and compliance risks
- engaging with industry, other stakeholders and the community on responsible management of fisheries resources.
AFMA’s focus in 2015-16 continues to be the delivery of fisheries management to ensure sustainable and profitable fisheries that produce Australian seafood now and into the future.
Our planning and reporting framework
AFMA’s Corporate Plan 2015-2018 sets out the main goals and strategies AFMA has adopted for the next three years in pursuit of the objectives of AFMA’s governing legislation Fisheries Administration Act 1991, the Fisheries Management Act 1991 and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).
The Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) outcome of ‘ecologically sustainable and economically efficient Commonwealth fisheries, through understanding and monitoring Australia’s marine living resources and regulating and monitoring commercial fishing, including domestic licensing and deterrence of illegal foreign fishing’ is the specific purpose of the agency, supported by the operational activities outlined in this Annual Operational Plan 2015-16 (AOP). For 2015-16, the AOP reflects the deliverables, key performance indicators (KPIs) and budget summary published in the PBS.
AFMA’s Annual Operational Plan 2015-16 (AOP) outlines:
- the actions proposed to deliver on the corporate plan’s goals and strategies in 2015-16
- the operational activities (in place to meet the legislated objectives)
- the management plans AFMA intends to determine or implement
- how success in achieving strategic actions and operational activities will be measured.
AFMA’s Regulator Performance Framework will utilise some of these measures.
The PGPA Act introduces a new planning and performance framework from 2015-16 comprising of a corporate plan and annual performance statement for Commonwealth entities such as AFMA. However for entities with enabling legislation that already require a corporate plan and operational plan, such as AFMA, transitional arrangements apply. The diagram below illustrates the relationship between the corporate plan and performance reporting under PGPA.
To ensure there is a clear line of sight between the allocation and use of public resources, Commonwealth entities will need to ensure that links can be made between the appropriations reported in their Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) and the performance information reported in corporate plans and annual performance statements. The Agriculture PBS still sets out AFMA’s program objectives, program deliverables and services and key performance indicators. From next year, most of the non-financial performance expectations will be published in the corporate plan and reviewed in the annual performance statement appended to the annual report.
Under AFMA’s fisheries legislation, the AOP is to be submitted to the Minister by 1 June each year. Under the PGPA Act, the corporate plan follows the announcement of the budget for the current financial year, and should necessarily reflect any new budget decisions (e.g. funding for new activities or savings). It should also reflect any significant changes in an entity’s environment or purposes, such as significant changes in economic conditions or machinery-of-government changes.
On occasions, new government directions may shift AFMA’s resource effort from those intended actions during the year. If required, reasons for variance will be listed in the annual report. From 2015-16, the reasons for variance from budget will be listed in the financial statements.
Intended actions to deliver AFMA’s strategies in 2015-16
|Corporate Plan 2015-18||Annual Operational Plan 2015-16|
|Legislative / Government Policy||Corporate Goals||Corporate Strategies||Strategic Actions|
|Implement efficient and cost effective fisheries management on behalf of the Commonwealth.||1 Implement management arrangements and frameworks that are both cost effective and encourage compliance.||1.1 Make fisheries management arrangements more uniform and understandable to encourage voluntary compliance.||1.1.1 Prepare plain English management arrangements.|
|1.2 Ensure that fisheries management arrangements are enforceable with appropriate penalties for non-compliance.||1.2.1 Undertake legislative review of penalty provisions including powers, incentives, offences, and administrative and criminal penalties.|
|1.3 Improve business processes, information flows and financial management arrangements to reduce costs.||1.3.1 Refine continuous improvement program and red tape process reductions.|
|1.4 Migrate management arrangements to a single Fisheries Management Plan.||1.4.1 Reform fishery management rules to reduce complexity and provide uniformity.|
|1.5 Facilitate co-management in Commonwealth fisheries.||1.5.1 Utilise outcomes from co-management trials to maintain, and expand where appropriate, co-management arrangements with industry groups.|
|2 Create a high performing organisation with integrated service delivery and efficient management of resources.||2.1 Ensure the AFMA workforce is safe, appropriately sized, trained and accountable.||2.1.1 Administer bargaining process to new Enterprise Agreement per government policy and legislation.|
|2.2 Design and manage AFMA’s finances, assets and procurement in a sustainable, fiscally responsible and risk appropriate manner, in accordance with the Resource Management Framework under PGPA Act.||2.2.1 Prepare financial plan to align with PBS.|
|2.2.2 Implement internal controls in line with assurance framework review.|
|2.2.3 Revise AFMA activity costing hierarchy and budget reporting system.|
|2.3 Develop and trial new technologies designed to improve workflows, information flows, accessibility and security.||2.3.1 Develop mobile office tools and smartform applications.|
|2.3.2 Develop integrated data warehouse platform.|
|2.4 Improve AFMA’s performance and people through risk and reputation management.||2.4.1 Revise employee position description and Personal Development Agreement system and documentation in accordance with AFMA performance management framework.|
|2.4.2 Revise risk management framework in line with government policy.|
|2.4.3 Prepare performance management framework in line with PGPA Act.|
|3 Reduce regulatory burden and improve productivity.||3.1 Reduce costs of compliance and fisheries management through reduction of red tape and unnecessary regulatory requirements.||3.1.1 Investigate further options to improve the cost effective fisheries management arrangements in Torres Strait fisheries on behalf of the Protected Zone Joint Authority, including development of management plans.|
|3.1.2 Encourage key fishing industry associations to increase the uptake of e-logs and GOFish.|
|3.1.3 Implement approved red tape reduction initiatives.|
|3.1.4 Roll out of electronic monitoring to the Gillnet Hook and Trap and Eastern Tuna and Billfish fisheries.|
|3.1.5 Establishment investment in data warehouse and transfer technologies, and upgrading of fishery management specific software.|
|3.1.6 Remove Northern Joint Authorities and place these fisheries in single jurisdiction management.|
|3.1.7 Revision of NSW South Coast Trawl sector under the NSW Offshore Constitutional Settlement providing jurisdiction for trawling inside 3nm to the Commonwealth.|
|3.1.8 Review licensing arrangements in Torres Strait fisheries to reduce duplication, outdated requirements and better meet requirements for electronic utilisation of services.|
|3.2 Improve planning, performance and reporting arrangements to minimise unnecessary interventions with stakeholders.||3.2.1 Develop regulator audit and performance frameworks.|
|3.3 Explore opportunities to streamline fisheries assessments under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.||3.3.1 Contribute to the implementation of the Australian Government’s response to the review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.|
|3.3.2 Prepare standard service agreement for AFMA provision of services to third parties.|
|4 Facilitate co-management in Commonwealth fisheries.||4.1 For fisheries under the Fisheries Management Act 1991, apply lessons from co-management trials and assist the development of new arrangements.||4.1.1 Utilise outcomes from co-management trials to advance co-management arrangements with industry groups.|
|Ensure that the exploitation of fisheries resources and the carrying on of any related activities are conducted in a manner consistent with the principles of ecologically sustainable development, in particular the need to have regard to the impact of fishing activities on non-target species and the long-term sustainability of the marine environment.||5 Prevent unacceptable impacts of Commonwealth fisheries on marine ecosystems and organisms.||5.1 Review fishery risks and management measures under AFMA’s Ecological Risk Management Framework.||5.1.1 Further development of ecological risk assessment and risk management framework to include habitats.|
|5.1.2 Consider further application of catch thresholds (or their proxy) for interactions with threatened, endangered and protected (TEP) species.|
|5.1.3 Partner with industry/service providers to educate fishing concession holders about responsible fishing practices and raise awareness of reporting and compliance obligations.|
|5.1.4 Implement the Commonwealth Bycatch Policy within available resources and priorities.|
|Maximise net economic returns to the Australian community from the management of Australian fisheries.||6 Manage key commercial species at levels that support maximum economic yield.||6.1 Manage fisheries in line with the Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy and Guidelines and the Harvest Strategy Framework.||6.1.1 Support the revision of the Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy.|
|6.2 Develop measures to prevent target stocks becoming overfished, and recover remaining overfished stocks.||6.2.1 Implement stock rebuilding strategies for species assessed as being below agreed limit reference points.|
|7 Improve connection between science and fishing.||7.1 Increase public accessibility and availability of scientific and other fishery management information.||7.1.1 Establish scientific review processes for all AFMA commissioned research.|
|7.1.2 Develop and implement research standards to ensure clear flow of information and increase accessibility to data.|
|8 Improve the net economic returns of Commonwealth fisheries.||8.1 Facilitate access to underutilised fisheries resources in accordance with Fisheries Management Paper 5.||8.1.1 Review fishery quotas based on fish stocks.|
|8.2 Develop management arrangements to minimise the amount of discarded fish.||8.2.1 Support research and initiatives to reduce the amount of discarded fish.|
|Exploitation of fish stocks in the Australian Fishing Zone and the high seas are carried out consistently with international obligations.||9 Effectively deter illegal fishing in Commonwealth fisheries, the Australian Fishing Zone and adjacent regions.||9.1 Conduct and enable compliance programs that target identified high risks.||9.1.1 Coordinate an enhanced compliance intelligence capacity with partner agencies.|
|9.1.2 Collaborate with relevant agencies on deterring illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) activity and developing fisheries management arrangements and capacity building.|
|10 Ensure domestic fishing arrangements meet international obligations.||10.1 Improve regional fishery management structures and enhance capacity with neighbouring states.||10.1.1 Promote and advocate deterrence, prevention and cooperation at regional fisheries forums to deter illegal fishing.|
|Accountability to the fishing industry and to the Australian community in AFMA’s management of fisheries resources.||11 Encourage application of accredited international standards and self-regulation by fisheries.||11.1 Develop suitable criteria for assessing AFMA’s potential use of regulatory standards and risk assessments.||11.1.1 Consider opportunities for applying international standards and risk assessments in the reform priorities.|
|12 Ensure transparent and effective engagement with the community and other stakeholders.||12.1 Improve communications in a style understood by stakeholders through appropriate media channels.||12.1.1 Explore stakeholder and broader community engagement through digital and social media.|
|12.1.2 Revise community and stakeholder engagement strategy.|
|12.2 Ensure website is easy to navigate and content is appropriate, factual and current.||12.2.1 Continue update of website content and navigation tools.|
|12.3 Effectively engage with management advisory committees and resource assessment groups as the principal sources of advice to AFMA.||12.3.1 Appoint appropriate people to committees and provide regular training to committee members.|
|12.3.2 Develop workflow and mobile technologies to streamline meeting templates and distribution of information.|
|12.4 Effectively engage with commercial and recreational fishing peak bodies, and environmental non-government organisations, as sources of advice to AFMA.||12.4.1 Conduct regular stakeholder forums with science, environment and recreational fisher groups.|
|Achieve government targets in relation to the recovery of AFMA’s costs.||13 Ensure system of cost recovered activities reflect the services delivered to users and beneficiaries.||13.1 Design the Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (2015 CRIS) to be efficient for AFMA to administer, consistently applied and completed in accordance with applicable policy, legislative requirements and other contracted activities.||13.1.1 Revise AFMA’s cost recovery arrangements in accord with adopted principles.|
|13.1.2 Revise AFMA’s activity costing hierarchy.|
|13.2 Design 2015 CRIS to promote opportunities for efficiency improvements.||13.2.1 Consider red tape reduction and business process improvements in 2015 CRIS.|
To support the objectives and functions of its enabling legislation, AFMA undertakes a number of operational activities to manage domestic fisheries, meet its border protection and international fishery obligations, and monitor and protect fish stocks and marine environments.
Those activities have been revised in conjunction with the review of AFMA’s cost recovery arrangements, so that government funded activities can be identified from cost recovered activities, and the drivers of those costs can be refined to improve efficiencies and lower costs to government and industry.
A number of those activities are subject to monitoring of regulator performance, such as turnarounds of licencing transactions and availability of information to stakeholders.
Budgeting and reporting framework
AFMA has responsibility for one outcome and one program. This reporting framework is consistent with program based reporting.
Ecologically sustainable and economically efficient Commonwealth fisheries, through understanding and monitoring Australia’s marine living resources and regulating and monitoring commercial fishing, including domestic licensing and deterrence of illegal foreign fishing.
Program 1.1 Australian Fisheries Management Authority
To sustainably manage Commonwealth fisheries and deter illegal fishing.
In addition to 2015-16 actions, AFMA provides ongoing program deliverables and services as set out below.
AFMA aims to improve the long term sustainable catch of target species through:
- regularly assessing the status of target species
- applying the Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy, which defines targets for pursuing precautionary and economically efficient catch levels.
AFMA pursues ecological sustainability by:
- applying the Commonwealth Bycatch Policy, which seeks to reduce or minimise interactions with non-target species
- conducting risk based compliance programs to deter illegal fishing in AFMA managed fisheries
- conducting ecological risk assessments and putting in place management responses for species considered at risk from fishing activity
- supporting the fishing industry to meet the requirements of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
AFMA seeks to maximise the net economic returns to the Australian community from Commonwealth fisheries by:
- increasing the number of fisheries and/or species with specific targets for maximum economic yield, where it is cost effective to do so.
AFMA aims to deter and prevent illegal foreign fishing in the Australian Fishing Zone and thereby minimise its impact on Australian fisheries resources by:
- providing the fisheries focus within the Australian Government Civil Maritime Surveillance and Response Program
- carrying out capacity building projects and cooperative enforcement operations to improve the sustainability of fish resources in neighbouring countries.
AFMA’s projected deliverables for the coming period are detailed in the following table (Table 2).
Table 2 – AFMA Deliverables
|Deliverables||Budget||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
|Complete research projects including Torres Strait Fisheries.1||Minimum
|Complete fishery independent surveys.||10||10||10||5||5|
|Number of fisheries regulated under plans of management, including Torres Strait Fisheries.||12||13||13||13||13|
|Number of harvest strategies applied to regulated fisheries.||11||11||11||11||11|
|Complete licensing transactions:|
|Amount of levies collected.||Greater than 99% of levies collected.||Greater than 99% of levies collected.||Greater than 99% of levies collected.||Greater than 99% of levies collected.||Greater than 99% of levies collected.|
|Prosecute illegal foreign fishers.||Note2||Note2||Note2||Note2||Note2|
|Dispose of illegal foreign fishing vessels.||Note2||Note2||Note2||Note2||Note2|
|Capacity building programmes in regional countries.||4||4||4||4||4|
|Evidence of suspected illegal foreign fishing vessels forwarded to regional organisation and/or country.||100% of cases.||100% of cases.||100% of cases.||100% of cases.||100% of cases.|
|Administered: Illegal foreign fishing vessel caretaking and disposal|
|Forfeited vessels disposed of.3||100%||100%||100%||100%||100%|
|Review annual domestic compliance risk assessment.||100%||100%||100%||100%||100%|
|1. Includes only research projects that AFMA contracts with the research provider. It does not include research projects administered by other agencies in which AFMA co-invests.|
|2. Performance cannot be forecast reliably. Actual results will be included in the AFMA Annual Report.|
|3. Expressed as a proportion of forfeited vessels brought to AFMA-commissioned caretaking and disposal facilities. The actual numbers depend on the number apprehended and brought to the disposal facilities through the Civil Maritime Surveillance and Response Programme and cannot be forecast reliably.|
Our success in pursuing our objectives in 2015-2016 and over the life of our 2015-2018 Corporate Plan will be indicated by:
- maximising the net economic returns to the Australian community from the management of Australian fisheries
- ecological sustainability, including fishing impacts on the marine environment and biodiversity.
The Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy and Guidelines provides a framework to maintain key commercial fishery stocks at ecologically sustainable levels and maximise net economic returns through fisheries management and applying a precautionary approach. It is anticipated the revision of the policy may lead to revised modelled performance indicators.
The Commonwealth government recently released its Regulator Performance Framework (RPF) in response to the Productivity Commission report. The framework pursues the government’s policy to reduce regulatory burden, improve performance and increase transparency. The RPF promotes six mandatory key performance indicators around stakeholder engagement, transparency, cost efficiency, risk appropriateness, continuous improvement and regulatory burden.
AFMA has prepared its initial RPF and will collect performance information for publication with next year’s annual report.
In addition, AFMA has commenced development of its PGPA-based performance management framework to provide line of sight between legislated objectives, corporate strategies and actions; to establish targets, thresholds and triggers for performance monitoring and mitigation; and to integrate and align non-financial information that improves agency monitoring and reporting of performance, including inter-relationships of performance indicators and the impact of activities on stakeholders. That work is expected to incorporate the recent review of fisheries management performance and establishment of a quality management system.
Benchmarking may be required by government for regulator performance. Once performance targets and thresholds are determined by AFMA, stakeholder surveys and peer reviews may provide other qualitative evidence of progress against targets.
Each quarter the AFMA Commission receives a report on progress against the strategic actions contained in the AOP. This is also summarised in AFMA’s annual report. While the 2015-16 Annual Operational Plan mirrors the deliverables and KPIs contained in the PBS, from next year the ‘performance plan’ required under PGPA Act will include the performance metrics being developed through the above planning and performance reporting project.
AFMA Key Performance Indicators from the PBS are detailed in following Table (Table 3).
Table 3 – AFMA’s Program Key Performance Indicators
|Programme Key Performance Indicators|
|Indicators||Budget||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
|For economically significant stocks:|
|a) Maximise the number of key
commercial stocks with
harvest strategy targets
based on maximum economic
yield (MEY) or the best
|b) Improve the number of stocks
in (a) assessed as being on
|c) For those stocks in (a) that
are assessed as not on
target, improve the number
that are heading towards
their target reference point3.
|Number of fish stocks subject to overfishing.||0||0||0||0||0|
|Minimise the number of species assessed as remaining at high risk after mitigation.||69||72||64||50||40|
|Maximise the disposal of apprehended foreign illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) vessels and suspected illegal entry vessels (SIEVs).||100%||100%||100%||100%||100%|
|Treatments targets for all priority domestic compliance risks met.||90%||90%||90%||90%||90%|
The indicators are developed based on the latest understanding of the fish stock status, predicted future research and research needs for each fishery. Maximum economic yield (MEY) is a target that utilises the fish stocks at the most efficient harvest point and is a more precautionary target than a maximum sustainable yield (MSY) target. For indicator 1, economically significant stocks, it shows an increase in the number of stock being on target (b) this indicates strong science is supporting management decisions, likewise a reduction in the number of species not on target to meet their reference points (c) is a positive sign for these resources.
 Please note that not all Commonwealth fish stocks can be managed by MEY, for example, those managed under international regional bodies.
 Where higher and lower value species are caught together, different targets for the lower value species may maximise net economic returns overall.
 Assessment methodologies are being reviewed. This may mean projections may vary.
 In AFMA managed fisheries, not including jointly and internationally managed fisheries.
 Ecological Risk Assessments for Commonwealth managed fisheries and sub-fisheries have been completed covering almost 1,200 species. Species considered to be potentially at high risk are the subject of mitigation measures and further assessment. This may mean that projections of numbers of high risk species may vary from year to year.
AFMA is funded by a combination of government appropriations, industry levies and fee for service. It collects levies via regulations under the Fishing Levy Act 1991, in accordance with the Fisheries Management Act 1991, the Fisheries Administration Act 1991, Australian Government Cost Recovery Policy and AFMA’s Cost Recovery Impact Statement 2010. Costs relating to foreign fishing compliance are fully funded by government. AFMA expects to maintain a balanced budget position over the forward years.
The majority of domestic fisheries management costs are recovered from the domestic fishing industry in accordance with AFMA’s 2010 Cost Recovery Impact Statement. AFMA’s cost recovery arrangements are under review in accord with new government guidelines. These will apply to government and non-government stakeholders and a new Cost Recovery Implementation Statement is expected to come into effect for the 2016-17 financial year. AFMA is also reviewing its legislative provisions relating to the application of penalties, which may result in changes to future year estimates from 2016-17.
Funding for depreciation and amortisation expenses have been attributed between government and cost recovered activities in accordance with AFMA’s Cost Recovery Impact Statement. AFMA retains sufficient cash reserves in its Special Account to fully meet its employee and supplier liabilities.
AFMA has budgeted for total expenditure in 2015-16 of $45.3 million, comprising $38.02 million in Departmental expenditure and $5.39 million on Administered activities (for the caretaking and disposal of illegal foreign fishing vessels). Of the Departmental expenditure, $14.42 million is expected to be recovered from the fishing industry and other third parties provided a service by AFMA, under a levy or fee for service basis.
Table 4 – Programme Expenses
|Budget||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
|Annual administered expenses:|
|Ordinary Annual Services(Appropriation Bill No. 1)||5309||5392||5365||5456||5550|
|Annual departmental expenses:|
|Departmental appropriation1||23 829||23 600||23 552||23 764||23 927|
|Special Account expenses:|
|AFMA Special Account||14 000||14 420||14 853||15 299||15 758|
|Expenses not requiring appropriation in the budget year2||1895||1895||1895||1895||1895|
|Total Programme expenses||45 033||45 307||45 665||46 414||47 130|
|1. Departmental Appropriation combines ‘Ordinary annual services (Appropriation Bill No. 1)’ and “Retained Revenue Receipts under s74 of the PGPA Act 2013”.|
|2. Expenses not requiring appropriation in the budget year is made up of depreciation expense and amortisation expense for both Departmental and Administered items.|
During 2015-16, AFMA expects average staffing levels to be about 185 full time equivalents (FTE) to support operations and strategic activities outlined in this plan, with the majority located in AFMA’s central office in Canberra (134 FTE). There are two regional offices in Australia. On Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, four staff are employed on fisheries management and two on foreign compliance functions. AFMA’s Darwin office has 32 FTE undertaking compliance functions in throughout the Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ). AFMA employs approximately 20 staff residing around Australia (13 full time equivalents) to observe at sea fishing operations. Ongoing FTE is subject to operational requirements.
AFMA’s responsibilities are shared between a Commission and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO):
- the AFMA Commission (made up of six expert and independent commissioners and the CEO) is responsible for making decisions about domestic fisheries management, including catch levels, fishing methods, the timing of fishing seasons, and fishery closures
- the CEO is responsible for foreign compliance, and for assisting the Commission and giving effect to its decisions.
In undertaking AFMA’s day-to-day business affairs and overall fisheries management, the CEO is assisted by three senior executives, with the following responsibilities:
Figure 7 – Organisational structure
|Fisheries Management Branch||Fisheries Operations Branch||Corporate Services Branch|
|Demersal and midwater trawl fisheries||Compliance operations (Darwin)||Legal|
|Tuna and international fisheries||National compliance strategy||Workplace|
|Northern fisheries||Foreign compliance policy||Business|
|Policy, environment, economics, co-management
|Business improvement and external services||Projects|
This organisational structure and staffing provides for the delivery of AFMA’s intended actions, deliverables and services, and the internal supporting services that contribute to them.
AFMA strives to be a flexible, learning organisation. AFMA employs appropriately skilled and motivated staff committed to ongoing improvement in managing the Commonwealth’s fisheries resources and to achieving AFMA’s objectives and goals. AFMA recognises that the performance and commitment of its staff is central to its success as an innovative fisheries management organisation and seeks to provide an environment in which staff can reach their full potential.
A new enterprise agreement and workplace policies expected in 2015 should strengthen opportunities for development and performance for staff.
AFMA’s performance management scheme focuses on providing fair and accurate performance feedback to staff, and remuneration and professional development are tied to annual performance reviews. That scheme is under review in 2015, together with a review of human resource and workplace policies.
AFMA has prepared its workforce strategy to plan for development and attraction/retention of skilled staff, transition to retirement, workplace health and to minimise risks associated with the workplace, public service policy and business continuity.
For further information about our national, international and regional activities, functions and services, please:
Visit AFMA’s internet site at: www.afma.gov.au
Phone: AFMA DIRECT on 1300 723 621