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    No. Title Description Status
    1 Providing for renewal of Fishing Permits online Fishers can now use AFMA’s online licensing portal to renew their permits. GoFish automatically assess their applications and can grant the relevant concessions in real time. Implemented April 2014 - Positive feedback has been received from industry members.
    2 Single party registration of leases A lease can now be registered by the lessor without the need for the lessee to be involved in the process. Leases make up 75% of all licensing transactions. Implemented April 2014 – Positive feedback has been received from industry members.
    3 Multi-season registration of leases Fishers can now register online for their lease to reoccur for multiple fishing seasons. This removes the need to re submit lease applications at the start of each season. Implemented April 2014 – Positive feedback has been received from industry members.
    4 Suspending fees for online trading of licences Charges for AFMA online licensing transactions have been moved to the levy base removing the need to pay fees at the time of each transaction. Implemented November 2014 – Positive feedback has been received from industry members.
    5 Removal of direct Scientific Permit application fees Charges for scientific permit applications have been moved to the levy base removing the need to pay these fees at the time of the transaction. Implemented November 2014 – Positive feedback has been received from industry members.
    6 Simplified boat nominations This change will allow fishers to pool their quota allocations for use by all nominated boats in their company. Implemented July 2015 – Part 1 implemented in fisheries with separate access rights. Part 2 Implemented July 2015 in quota only fisheries.
    7 Transitioning Quota Holding Permits to SFRs To lower administration costs for AFMA and industry, AFMA proposes a one-off, one-for-one grant of statutory fishing rights for holders of quota permits. Unlike permits, statutory fishing rights do not expire and so do not need to be reapplied for. In progress –Management Plan amendment providing granting provisions implemented. Grant is on hold pending an amendment to the Fisheries Management Act 1991 which is scheduled for 2017
    8 Electronic delivery of correspondence AFMA has simplified and streamlined its correspondence and is now using its online licensing portal GoFish to deliver correspondence that is better tailored to individual’s needs. Implemented April 2015
    9 Automatic granting of fishing permits This change will allow AFMA to grant permits without persons having to reapply each year. In progress - Requires amendment to the Fisheries Management Act 1991 (FMA).
    10 Improving Levy and Fee for Service arrangements There are a number of efficiencies that can be gained through a suite of changes to the Levy and Fee for Service invoicing and debt recovery arrangements. This project would replace levy and fee for service invoices with a combined statement, spread levy costs over the full year, reduce the maintenance costs for AFMA’s Licensing systems and reduce the financial risks to the organisation. In progress - Phase 1: Client based invoicing: - Systems changes being developed to provide for combined stalemates. Phase 2: Changes to levy timing and structure - further consultation required. The Commonwealth Fisheries Association does not support the change to timing.
    11 Providing for new permits to be applied for online This change will allow fishers to submit applications for new Scientific, Fish Receiver, and Carrier Boat using AFMA’s online licensing portal GoFish. Implemented April 2016
    12 Providing for fishers to add and remove agents online This change will allow fishers to add or remove authorisation for agents online rather than via paper based applications to AFMA. Complete
    13 Provide access to concession conditions online Persons can now search and access the conditions that apply to particular concessions or boats online. Implemented November 2014 – Positive feedback has been received from industry members.
    14 Simplifying licensing outputs AFMA is simplifying its licensing outputs to reduce the paperwork required to be carried on boats. This may include revising AFMA’s register extracts to just display the boats nominated, the amount of statutory fishing rights held and the quota remaining to be fished. The number of extracts may also be reduced by including all relevant fisheries on a single extract instead of a separate extract for each fishery. No longer being progressed. This initiative has been superseded by initiative 17 ( Removal of the requirement to carry concession documents on boats).
    15 Simplifying under catch provisions To receive under catch an operator must hold at least one statutory fishing right of the species in the new season. If fishers forget to lease in quota they miss out on their under catch. This requirement is no longer necessary so AFMA proposes to remove it. Complete
    16 Reform of the Catch Disposal Records system Commonwealth operators in most fisheries are required to land their catch to an AFMA licensed Fish Receiver. The Fish Receiver verifies the weights of landed fish and posts completed Catch Disposal forms to AFMA. The completed forms are then manually entered into AFMA’s database. The process is time-consuming for fishers, Fish Receivers and AFMA. The review will seek to use existing IT infrastructure to reduce regulatory burden. In progress: Phase 1 - Reducing cost of current CDR process - In progress. Options being investigated. Phase 2 - Reform of wider CDR process - On hold pending outcome of penalty review.
    17 Removal of the requirement to carry concession documents on boats AFMA requires fishers to carry up to date paper copies of fishing concessions on their boats to be provided to Compliance Officers from State and Commonwealth agencies when requested. Remote access to the internet and other technologies now means Compliance Officers can access this information without the need for fishers to carry copies. Complete
    18 Providing for online payments of levies AFMA offers several payment options for concession holders to pay their annual levies, including BPAY, direct deposit, cheque and credit card payments over the phone. Industry has requested the ability to pay their invoices by credit card through GoFish. In progress – Linked to initiative 10 ( Improving Levy and Fee for Service arrangements).
    19 Standardising the structure of Committee minutes Management Advisory Committees and Resource Assessment Groups are AFMA’s primary source of independent advice on fisheries matters. AFMA provides secretariat services for their meetings. Standardising the structure of minutes taken at the meetings ensures they are an effective record and meet the needs of all stakeholders. Implemented December 2014
    20 Providing for the online management of AFMA Committee documents AFMA intends to provide a secure online collaboration area for committee members to conduct committee business more efficiently. Complete – Govdex has been implemented across AFMAs MAC’s and RAG’s as an online collaboration tool between AFMA and its committee members.
    21 Open Cascade Plateau to long line for Blue Eye Trevalla The Cascade Plateau closure was implemented to protect Blue-eye Trevalla populations prior to the introduction of quota management. Blue-eye Trevalla is now a quota managed species in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery meaning the closure is no longer required and can be removed. Implemented May 2015
    22 Review of closures in the Commonwealth Trawl Sector and the Gillnet Hook and Trap Sector The South East Trawl Deep Water Closure (also called the ’700m line‘) was implemented in June 2007 to protect Orange Roughy stocks. Orange Roughy are a quota species in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery and can only be targeted in those Commonwealth-managed fishing zones that are above the limit reference point set under a harvest strategy. AFMA is reviewing the closure to maintain protection for Orange Roughy, Deepwater sharks and Gulper Sharks in accordance with scientific advice while considering whether other areas could be opened to trawl fishing. Complete – Overlapping closures have been removed. As part of the resumption of targeted orange roughy fishing in the eastern zone some areas of the South East Trawl Deepwater Closure have been opened to fishing.
    23 Review WA OCS arrangement The existing boundary of the Western Deepwater Trawl Fishery excludes Commonwealth permit holders from accessing fish stocks in some waters seaward of the 200m isobath, including prospective finfish trawling areas off Carnarvon and Perth. The existing boundary of the North West Slope Trawl Fishery allows access by Commonwealth permit holders to an area of waters significantly shallower than 200m where they interact with fish stocks being taken by trap in the State-managed Northern Demersal Scalefish Fishery. Complete
    24 Review monitoring arrangements for power handlines in northern GHAT waters. AFMA’s Upper Slope Dogfish Management Strategy prescribes interaction limits, move-on provisions and a requirement for 100% monitoring when fishing in Dogfish closures described in the Strategy. Recent research conducted by the CSIRO suggests a high survival rate of Dogfish when caught by power handlines using good handling techniques. Implemented May 2015 - Interaction limits and move-on provisions for power handline operators have been removed and the 100% monitoring requirement can now be met with the use of electronic monitoring.
    25 Streamline carrier boat permit conditions in the Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery AFMA issues carrier boat permits in the Southern Bluefin Tuna Fishery which allow operators to transfer caught fish into tow cages for transport to grow-out pens. Implemented December 2014 – Positive feedback has been received from industry members.
    26 Disband three Northern Joint Authorities The Commonwealth manages a number of fisheries with the Queensland, Northern Territory and West Australian governments. These fisheries are known as Joint Authority fisheries. Transitioning these fisheries to management by a single jurisdiction will simplify management for governments and create a more stable operating environment for the fishing industry. In Progress – AFMA and the States/NT have agreed on an approach and are continuing negotiations. This initiative is described in the Northern Australia White Paper
    27 Simplification of Torres Strait Fisheries licencing arrangements A Review of the Torres Strait Fisheries administrative arrangements recommended that licensing and management be combined to reduce duplication and increase efficiency. Implemented July 2015 –AFMA took responsibility for licensing from 1 July 2015.
    28 Removal of net length restrictions in the shark gillnet fishery

    The gillnet sector of the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery limits catches by setting quotas. It also restricts the length of gillnet able to be used by fishers to 6,000m; this seeks to control fishing effort.

    Some fishery stakeholders have questioned the need for net length restrictions given quota already limit the total catch permitted by each fisher. Other stakeholders are concerned that removing net length limitations may waste catch as longer nets remain in the water longer while they are hauled. There are also concerns that the longer nets may increase interactions with protected species and bycatch.

    Implemented May 2017
    29 Provide digital maps of closures that can be imported into marine plotters To comply with Closure Directions, fishers must manually enter the coordinates of the closures into their Global Positioning System chart plotters or pay a third party to do so. This process of manually entering a long list of coordinates is time consuming and subject to human error. AFMA intends to create ‘shape files’ which include closure coordinates. These will be publically available via the AFMA website for download in both a universal ‘Garmin’ Global Positioning System format and a format compatible with Google Earth. Fishers will be able to upload the files directly to their chart plotters, saving time, money, effort and reducing regulatory burden. Complete
    30 Mergers of Resource Advisory Groups Form a joint Resource Assessment Group (South East RAG – ‘SERAG’) for south-east fisheries by combining SlopeRAG and ShelfRAG. Complete
    31 Remove Fisheries Management Regulations relating to offal discharge while hauling Eastern and Western Tuna and Billfish longline fisheries. Current regulations prohibit the discharge of offal while hauling of pelagic longline, demersal longline, trotline and dropline fishing gear. The intention was to reduce the risk of seabird interactions while the vessel was hauling its fishing gear. Following industry feedback and improvements in Seabird mitigation techniques AFMA intends to amend regulations to allow AFMA to exempt boats that do not have the deck space or the processing areas setup to allow for the retention of offal on the deck. The regulation which prohibits the discharge of offal while setting fishing gear will still remain in force and mitigate the greatest risk to seabirds being caught by longline gear, which occurs during gear setting. Complete
    32 Use of electronic monitoring in the Gillnet Hook and Trap, and Eastern and Western Tuna Billfish fisheries AFMA e-monitoring program will use video and sensor data to independently validate fishery logbook information supplied by fishers. When combined with electronic logbooks it will generate verified, accurate, near real-time fisheries data that can be used for fisheries management decisions and to verify fisher’s compliance with regulations. Implemented July 2015 – All installations complete.
    33 Reduce the number of Directions used to implement Northern Prawn Fishery closures First and second season closure directions for the Northern Prawn Fishery are combined into a single five year direction. Previously these Directions were issues annually and separately for the banana and tiger prawn fishing seasons. Implemented 2015.
    34 Information – data on the web AFMA use data.com.au to make fishing data available to those with an interest. This avoids stakeholders having to apply, and AFMA needing to assess, respond and often charge for these services. Complete – Aggregated Commonwealth catch disposal record (CDR) and logbook data has been published on data.gov.au
    35 E-log program review AFMA is reviewing its e-log program (policies, processes, standards, roles and responsibilities) to make it more efficient and effective. Complete – the review has been completed and a list of recommendation provided for implementation.
    36 Processing at Sea (loining Marlin) With the introduction of Electronic Monitoring in the ETBF and WTBF it is possible to allow limited processing at sea – namely the loining of Striped Marlin In progress – a process for calculating conversion factors for processed loins has been agreed. An administrative process to amend the regulations to provide for loining is underway.
    37 Allowing Dual Jurisdiction trips for specific SESSF boat SFR and State licences to take rock lobster and giant crab in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. This initiative will allow boats that have SESSF Boat SFR to use their State licence to fish for rock lobster and giant crab on the same fishing trip. Implemented May 2016.
    38 Provide longer-term certainty to operators effected by gillnet closures off South Australia AFMA is proposing to provide for gillnet operators to be able to continue to use hooks in the waters adjacent to South Australia on a longer-term basis. In Progress – Current temporary gillnet to hook fishing permits will continue to apply in waters adjacent to South Australia for the 2016-17 fishing season. Formal industry consultation on longer-term arrangements is to be undertaken.
    39 Remove 130m depth closure off Tasmania The 130m depth closure was implemented in 2007 to prevent longlining and gillnetting in an area off western TAS between 130m and 183m deep. The closure intended to protect School Shark Stocks. Implemented May 2016.
    40 183m depth closure changed to allow Shark hook SFRs to fish in the deeper water The 183m depth closure was implemented in 2007 to prevent longlining and gillnetting in water deeper than 183m. The closure intended to protect School Shark Stocks. Implemented May 2016.
    41 Review the 100kg trip limit for school and gummy shark on Scalefish Hook Boat SFRs Holders of Scalefish hook boat Statutory Fishing Rights (SFRs) are currently prevented from targeting school and gummy shark by the imposition of a 100kg combined trip limit. Given any catches of school and gummy shark by scalefish operators must be covered with quota, subject to consultation with stakeholders, AFMA is proposing to remove the trip limit currently imposed on these operators. In progress
    42 Remove requirement for the annual public meeting of the AFMA Commission The Fisheries Administration Act 1991 (FAA) requires that at least one public meeting of the AFMA Commission be held each year. This normally requires preparation by AFMA and Commissioners. Historically public attendance has been low or non-existent. With the increased use of AFMA’s website to rapidly provide information to stakeholders, together with opportunities to meet with AFMA Commissioners through port visits, there is no longer need for the annual public meeting. In progress
    43 Remove trip limit on mahi mahi in the WTBF Under the previous Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Western Australia, Commonwealth operators in the Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery (WTBF) were limited to 10 mahi mahi per trip. This led to discarding of otherwise saleable fish. Following consultation with fishers and with agreement of the Western Australian Minster, the MOU has now been amended to increase the trip limit to 200 mahi mahi. As this number is above what is usually caught on a trip, the change removes instances of regulation imposed discarding of valuable table fish without impacting on sustainability. Complete
    44 Provide consistent turtle excluder device (TED) specifications in northern fisheries Operators in the Commonwealth managed Northern Prawn and Torres Strait Prawn fisheries, as well as the Queensland managed East Coast Prawn Fishery, are required to install TEDs in their nets to minimise the chance of turtle capture. AFMA is seeking to harmonise arrangements across these three fisheries to provide for a single specification for TEDs. This would mean fishers operating across these fisheries would no longer need to change their TEDs based on the areas in which they are fishing. Complete – Operators are now able to choose to use a TED design that can be used in all three jurisdictions.
    45 Remove requirement to carry line weights in the ETBF Line weights are used to speed up the sink rates of longline fishing gear. This reduces the likelihood of incidental seabird capture. Currently AFMA requires that line weights must be used in specified areas of the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery (ETBF) and, to aid in compliance enforcement, that line weights must be carried at all time across the whole fishery. With the introduction of electronic monitoring the use of line weighting in the specified areas can be actively monitored and enforced through review of video footage. As such the requirement to carry line weights at all times can be removed and fishers that do not fish the higher risk areas will no longer need to carry them. Complete
    46 Regionalise pink ling quota rights AFMA’s resource assessment groups have advised that there are two separate stocks for pink ling; one in the east and one in the west. As quota rights were issued on the basis of a single stock, complex management arrangements have had to be introduced to account for the differing levels of fishing allowed on each stock. AFMA is investigating the merits dividing the single pink ling quota right into separate east and west quota rights allowing for individual tailored management of each stock. As part of this process, AFMA will consider the merits of regionalising other stocks in the SESSF. In progress
    47 Simplify reporting of Commonwealth fisheries under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) It is a requirement of all export approvals for AFMA managed fisheries that annual reports be presented to the Department of the Environment and Energy. These reports provide information on the fishery and progress in addressing the conditions and recommendations of the approval. These reports are also the basis for reassessments. AFMA is proposing to satisfy this requirement by incorporating the information contained in the reports in a broader AFMA reporting process. Coupled with the move to ten year export approvals this is expected to improve efficiency over a two to three year period. In progress
    48 Reviewing fish size limits in the SESSF Several fish species in the SESSF have a minimum size below which the fish must be returned to the ocean. AFMA is reviewing the need for these size limits and investigating with industry the feasibility of using more selective fishing gear to avoid their capture. In progress
    49 Share data with SETFIA AFMA is investigating options to enhance co-management arrangements with SETFIA through the provision of catch data. This would enable SETFIA to manage issues such as non-legislated area specific species catch limits (such as eastern pink ling and snapper) at a fleet level, reducing management costs and removing the need to place these catch limits into legislation. In progress
    50 Transferring NSW Southern Fish Trawl to Commonwealth Management With the support of the respective State and Commonwealth industry associations, NSW fisheries and AFMA are working to transfer management of the NSW Southern Fish Trawl to AFMA. Incorporating the Southern Fish trawl into the Commonwealth South East Trawl fishery would remove duplication in management and uncertainty associated with State catches while providing increased security in access and consistent arrangements for both State and Commonwealth fishers. In progress
    51 Streamlining processes to support exploratory fishing AFMA is reviewing its exploratory fishing policy to ensure that the exploration of new fishing resources can be undertaken in the most cost effective manner while still providing the required level of environmental protection. Following feedback from industry, particular attention is being paid to the initial exploration stage to ensure that any costs associated with exploration and future utilisation are reasonably set. In progress – AFMA is preparing a consultation draft of a revised Exploratory Fishing Policy.


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    Page last updated: 06/02/2023