New harvest strategy secures future of fisheries in NSW

Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall today announced the NSW Government has finalised the NSW Harvest Strategy Policy that will secure the future of NSW fisheries.

The Harvest Strategy Policy will underpin the consistent and harmonised development of tailored harvest strategies for key NSW fisheries and is being released in tandem with the Harvest Strategy Guidelines. The Guidelines set out practical steps for implementation and monitoring of harvest strategies by fisheries managers, scientists and stakeholders.

Mr Marshall said that both documents will support harvest strategy development across the full range of NSW fisheries, from single species to multi species, both large and small-scale fisheries, as well as fisheries ranging from low to high levels of available data.

“Harvest strategies give all stakeholders, including fishers, the government and the community, certainty about how our fisheries will be managed and provide transparency in decision making,” Mr Marshall said.

“The Policy and associated Guidelines were developed, reviewed and endorsed by the Commercial Fishing NSW Advisory Council (CommFish), Recreational Fishing NSW Advisory Council (RFNSW), Aboriginal Fishing Advisory Council (AFAC) and the Ministerial Fisheries Advisory Council (MFAC).

“We started on this journey 12 months ago with the Trawl Whiting fishery. Since then, we have established three more Harvest Strategy Working Groups for Eastern Rock Lobster, Mulloway and Spanner Crab.

“Each working group is comprised of an independent chair, independent scientist and independent economist, along with representatives from the commercial, recreational and Aboriginal fishing sectors, as well as the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).”

During public exhibition of the Policy in late 2020, submissions were received from recreational and commercial fishing along with academic and conservation interests.

Chair of the NSW Seafood Industry Council (NSWSIC) Bryan Skepper welcomed the announcement.

“The NSWSIC strongly supports the development of harvest strategies that improve the transparency of decision making associated with the harvest of fisheries resources in this state and are committed to working with DPI in a constructive way to achieve this outcome,” Mr Skepper said.

CEO of the Professional Fisherman’s Association Tricia Beatty stated her full support for these harvest strategies.

“We strongly support the development and implementation of Harvest Strategies for NSW Fisheries because they provide clarity about the overall fishery objectives, fishery performance indicators, triggers for management action and appropriate management responses/decision rules,” Ms Beatty said.

MFAC member Matthew Hansen has declared his full support for the announcement of this Policy, stating that it would also help promote collaboration between recreational and commercial fishers and other key fisheries groups.

“We strongly support the development of harvest strategies and believe this is a big step forward in ensuring that consistent long-term sustainability measures are in place for pressured key species shared between both the commercial and recreational fishing sectors across NSW,” Mr Hansen said.

The Trawl Whiting and Lobster groups have developed draft harvest strategies. The Trawl Whiting harvest strategy is currently open for public consultation and the Rock Lobster strategy will be released for public consultation over the coming months. This work will continue in 2021/22 with other priority species.

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