The NSW Government will provide fishers with greater certainty and transparency in fisheries management decisions, through the development of tailored harvest strategies in direct partnership with commercial, recreational and Aboriginal fishers.
Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said the NSW Government was committed to partnering with industry and the community to manage the State’s fisheries to provide a more secure operating environment, starting with the Trawl Whiting Fishery.
“It is critical that everyone – fishers, the government and the community – have certainty about how our fisheries are managed,” Mr Marshall said.
“By taking the time to develop tailored harvest strategies in direct partnership with our fishers and the community, we’re ensuring a cooperative, consultative process for fisheries decision making.
“This approach reflects world best-practice in fisheries management, allowing fishers and stakeholders to consider the best outcomes and conditions for each fishery and set plans to achieve them.
“At the end of the day, we all have a common goal and that is the sustainability of our fisheries resources and maximising benefits to the sectors that rely on them.”
The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) will lead the development of harvest strategies, in partnership with the key fishing sectors and key stakeholders, beginning with the NSW Trawl Whiting Fishery.
DPI Fisheries will develop harvest strategies for a number of priority fisheries in NSW using this approach following discussions with fisheries advisory councils on priority species.
The Trawl Whiting Harvest strategy will be drafted by a working group comprised of an independent chair, independent scientist and independent economist, along with representatives from the commercial, recreational and Aboriginal fishing sectors, as well as DPI.
Chair of the NSW Seafood Industry Council Bryan Skepper welcomed the announcement, saying that for the first time in NSW professional fishers would participate in developing harvest strategies, ensuring that they can invest in their businesses with confidence.
“Genuine co-management in NSW is central to the NSW Seafood Industry Strategy and Roadmap and to the profitability and sustainability of a vibrant industry, which exists so that consumers have access to local, sustainable seafood,” Mr Skepper said.
Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Fishermen’s Association Tricia Beatty said the formation of the Working Group and the subsequent development of harvest strategies is an essential step forward in establishing a strong co-management process for NSW fisheries.
“The PFA has been a major contributor and advocate for the establishment of Fishery Working Groups and the development of Harvest Strategies for fisheries to ensure a collaborative approach to the ecologically sustainable and profitable use of commercial fisheries resources,” Ms Beatty said.
Ministerial Fisheries Advisory Council member Matt Hansen said that harvest strategies represented a great opportunity for recreational fishers.
“Harvest strategies are a big step forward in having long term sustainability plans in place, particularly for pressured key species shared between the commercial and recreational sectors,” Mr Hansen said.
“There are a number of species which need careful, considered and collaborative management going forward, and it is great to see strategies now being developed.”
A NSW Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy is being developed through the NSW Fisheries Advisory Council process and will be released for public consultation, along with guidelines for implementation.
DPI Fisheries will work with the Fisheries Advisory Councils to provide advice to the Minister for Agriculture on the priority fisheries to be addressed using this approach.
A call for Expressions of Interest for appointment to the NSW Trawl Whiting Fishery Harvest Strategy Working Group will be made soon.