28 June 2018

From 1 July 2018 the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is responsible for the day-to-day management of compliance of the commercial Torres Strait fisheries, not including recreational fishing.

AFMA’s General Manager of Fisheries Operations, Peter Venslovas, said that AFMA is taking on the responsibility from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF).

“The transition of fisheries compliance activities from QDAF to AFMA will help streamline Australian Government services in the Torres Strait,” Mr Venslovas said.

“While AFMA is assuming responsibility for compliance in the Torres Strait, our colleagues at QDAF will still be available to assist AFMA from the mainland.

“There will be no lapse in monitoring of these fisheries during the handover period, we will have full visibility and be able to conduct our usual business such as routine inspections and tracking vessels by the Vessel Monitoring System, or VMS.”

Fishing is an important and historic activity for communities in the Torres Strait, and ensuring the fisheries are sustainable and well managed is crucial to the livelihoods of generations of fishers.

“AFMA always strives to make decisions to positively impact the sustainability of Commonwealth fish stocks into the future,” Mr Venslovas said.

“We use the best available science from other Australian Government agencies like CSIRO and ABARES to support these management decisions.

“But it’s not just the science we rely on, it is important for fishers operating in the Torres Strait to comply by the rules and regulations set for the fishery, such as the requirement to report catch disposals which informs AFMA about catch rates.

“Fishers are reminded that all commercial catches can only be caught by a licenced fisher, and for them to dispose of their catch to a licenced fish receiver.”

If you become aware of any suspicious behaviour or illegal fishing practices, you can report these to AFMA online at CRIMFISH or by calling the CRIMFISH hotline on 1800 274 634, or call AFMA on Thursday Island on 07 4069 1990.