Working Group Expression of Interest

The Southern Seafood Producers have been asked to facilitate the formation of two working groups to support the Drafting of two new Management Plans. The SSPWA is supportive of having Management Plans in place prior to the Aquatic Resources Management Act (ARMA) coming into force. As most people will know there has been a delay in the ARMA being implemented, which provides opportunity of around 18 months to have this complete. SSPWA will be calling for expressions of interest from eligible fishers to participate in the two working groups. Being:

  • South Coast Line, Fish Trap and Squid Jig; and

  • South Coast Near shore net fishery.

We anticipate that each of these groups will comprise 6 – 8 fishers. It is anticipated there will be 2 – 3 face to face meetings for each working group in order to knock any rough edges of the Draft plans and to ensure they are practical in the working environment. Can eligible fishers (who have received their letter) please express their interest in being involved in these committees via return email. DPIRD has indicated its intention to commence this process at the beginning of April. Please see the below information from Shane Walters regarding the current status and future process of the Wetline Outcomes. Should you have any queries or concerns, please contact Shane Walters on: Email: Shane.Walters@dpird.wa.gov.au Phone: +61 (0)8 6551 4366

Background:

  • In 2015, the (then) Department of Fisheries released a discussion paper (Fisheries Management Paper No. 270 – FMP 270) outlining proposals for the future management for the fisheries under the South Coast commercial line, fish trap and net fisheries Review (Review). Following consideration of the outcomes of consultation on FMP 270, the (then) Minister for Fisheries approved, in principle the development of two new management plans for the fisheries under Review (a line and fish trap fishery and a nearshore net fishery).

  • In 2016, the Department engaged the South Coast Independent Access Panel (IAP) to undertake consultation with South Coast fisheries and provide recommendations on access to these two new fisheries. The IAPs final report and recommendations was submitted to the Department in late 2016.

  • On 31 January 2019, the Minister for Fisheries finalised the review of South Coast commercial line, fish trap and net fisheries by approving access criteria for these fisheries in line with the South Coast Independent Access Panel recommendations and the drafting of two new management plans to give effect to these decisions.

Access information:

  • On 1 March 2019, the Department wrote direct to FBL holders who have any relevant catch history during the 21 year qualifying period (1993-2013) set out in the Minister’s decisions for access, advising of their eligibility for access against the approved access criteria. A total of 193 letters were sent. FBL holders with no relevant catch history during the qualifying period were not sent a letter.

  • All FBL holders will be able to continue to fish in the South Coast open-access fisheries until the management plans are gazetted and come into effect (the Department is aiming to have the new management plans commence by the end of 2019);

  • Fishers who do not meet the criteria will retain their FBL and can use the FBL to commercially fish in another fishery should they choose to do so and will have the opportunity to purchase or lease a managed fishery licence under the two new fisheries once the new management plans come into effect and Managed Fishery Licences have been granted; and

  • The access criteria are solely catch-based (and FBL condition based with respect to fish traps) and do not recognise anything other than the catch recorded against an FBL (catch history held by the Department). The criteria for access do not take into account a person’s personal circumstances or exceptional events and as such the Department cannot consider these types of matters. However, If you believe there are errors associated with your catch history, please contact Mr Shane Walters on Shane.Walters@dpird.wa.gov.au or on 08 6551 4366.

Next steps:

  • The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is now drafting management plans for the South Coast line and fish trap fisheries and for the South Coast nearshore net fishery.

  • Consistent with Fisheries Management Paper No. 270 (FMP 270), the Department intends to implement management plans for the two new fisheries that are fit for purpose – this means the plans should be simple, cost effective and provide operational flexibility for the operators in these important, but relatively small scale fisheries.

  • During the initial stages of drafting the two new management plans, the Department will engage with fishers eligible for access to the two new fisheries in April 2019 to finalise management proposals developed from the outcomes of consultation on FMP 270. The Southern Seafood Producers (WA) Association will be forming an industry working group to assist the Department in this process.

  • Once management plans have been drafted, the Department will provide the draft management plans to the Minister for Fisheries for consideration and approval to release for statutory consultation. Once released for statutory consultation, the Department will engage with FBL holders eligible for access to these fisheries on the draft management plans.

  • Following consideration of the outcomes of statutory consultation, the Department will finalise the management plans for the Minister for Fisheries consideration and final approval.

  • Once management plans have been approved and published in the Government Gazette, the Department will invite FBL holders to apply for a Managed Fishery Licence under the new management plans prior to the commencement of the new management plans. Fishers who apply for an MFL under either of the two new management plans, and are refused, will have the opportunity to appeal that decision.

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