$20 million to revolutionise Commonwealth fisheries

Joint media release from:
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, the Hon David Littleproud MP
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Hon Ben Morton MP
Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries, Senator the Hon. Jonathon Duniam

The Australian Government will inject $20 million into leading edge data integration, monitoring and artificial intelligence to reduce regulatory burden, increase productivity, support new export opportunities, and improve environmental outcomes for Australia’s Commonwealth fishers. 

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the $9.95 million E-Fish initiative and the $10.1 million E-Monitoring program would boost innovation and lower compliance costs for hundreds of Commonwealth fishers.

“Leading-edge, fit-for-purpose data systems will deliver cheaper and more efficient services to commercial fishers,” Minister Littleproud said.  “Australian fishers work hard to ensure they fish within catch limits and environmental standards that are now amongst the best in the world. 

“The E-Fish initiative we are announcing today will streamline and integrate that data and its collection to increase flexibility for operators and reduce the costs of administration. The E-Monitoring program will improve and expand the existing Commonwealth electronic monitoring into additional Commonwealth fisheries.”

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Jonno Duniam said this was the most significant update for Australian fishers since the early 2000s, when they began transitioning from paper records to digital.

“Commonwealth fisheries have a proud history of developing and delivering new technologies that keep them at the forefront of the world’s best fishing practices, and the E-Fish and E-Monitoring initiatives continue this work,” Assistant Minister Duniam said. 

“This will be the most ambitious, advantageous and forward-leaning information management upgrade across the fisheries industry in decades, and will future-proof it for decades to come.

“E-Fish will make it easier for industry to meet traceability and provenance requirements—meaning more reliable access to a wider range of markets and new export opportunities. E-Monitoring will deliver a cost effective, streamlined, simplified and faster approach to vessel management and reporting, that will save fishers time and money.”

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ben Morton said that outdated, slow and costly technologies will be replaced for more than 1,300 fishing related businesses Australia wide.

“Moving to an integrated electronic system and providing AFMA’s regulatory service functions digitally will drive the Australian Government deregulation agenda, leveraging the latest technologies to reduce the regulatory burden placed on Commonwealth and Torres Strait fishers,” Assistant Minister Morton said.

“Rapid access to information on fishing activities will also give fishers the data they need to plan their fishing and marketing operations more efficiently, while avoiding bycatch and protected species, minimising environmental impacts and supporting market access.”

Across the country, around 1,360 fishing related businesses will benefit from E-Fish and E-Monitoring, including: 58 in Western Australia; 216 in Victoria; 129 in Tasmania; 127 in South Australia; 158 in New South Wales; 672 in Queensland; 6 in the Northern Territory; and, 3 in the Australian Capital Territory. 

These two measures are part of a Federal Government $120 million package to reduce red tape and regulatory burden across the Australian economy.

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