While the vast majority of fishers have complied with the 28 day period, six Commonwealth concession holders recently had their fishing concessions suspended for failing to cover catches with quota in time. Three boats were ordered to return to port and three others were ordered to keep their boats in port until their over catches were covered.
The compliance action came as a result of the concession holders failing to cover their over catch within the new 28 day quota reconciliation period that was introduced into the South East Scalefish and Shark Fishery on 1 May 2013.
“It is important to remind concession holders that they must cover any over catches in near real time to minimise the risk of being significantly over caught at the end of the fishing season and being subject to compliance action, including prosecution. The new arrangements will also ensure that the quota markets operate more efficiently” Mr John Andersen, Senior Manager of Compliance Operations said.
All six concession holders failed to reconcile their catches by the required time, despite being reminded of the impending deadline by AFMA.
“Fishers must understand that once the trigger date is reached and compliance action has started, they must cover all overcatches. This includes any fish species they have landed within the 28 day period, which they do not have sufficient quota for, not just the overcaught amounts which triggered the 28 day process” Mr Andersen said.
“In some cases, the quantity of catch that required reconciliation was quite large. If the fishers had reconciled by the deadline, they would not have been suspended in the first place. Their fishing concessions would not have been affected, and boats would not have been ordered back to port.”
“The majority of the operators in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery have met their obligations and avoided being exposed to the new arrangements. This can only be seen as a positive result.”
For more information, contact John Andersen, Senior Manager, Compliance Operations (Canberra) on 02 6225 5330 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the 28 day quota reconciliation process page on our website.