Reform program for NSW commercial fishing
Quick reform program update
- In response to industry concerns, an independent economic analysis has been commissioned to help inform the SARC's consideration of share linkage options. The study aims to estimate current private return on investment for the five relevant fisheries, provide comment on whether and how share linkages would improve the financial viability of these fisheries, and assess the value and current economic viability of the key share classes within these fisheries. The proposed approach to the exit grant program will also be subject to review. Preliminary results for both the economic review and exit grant review will be provided to the SARC during December 2014.
- The latest Structural Adjustment Review Committee (SARC) meeting occurred in September, the SARC Chair's Summary from this and all previous meetings remain available via the link.
- The Minister previously announced that the independent SARC would be given more time to tailor options and consult with industry on the Commercial Fisheries Reform. Following review of the submissions report and economic analysis, further consultation will be held to discuss share class linkage options during Feb/March 2015. In the meantime the Industry Liaison Manager remains available by phone or appointment for discussion, phone 0437 942 142, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Minister also announced that a three-year cap will be placed on management fees for the share managed fisheries, providing some certainty for fishers during this period.
- The latest Commercial Fisheries Newsletter - October 2014 - is now available. This also contains the SARC's recent recommended timeline for reform following the Minister's announcement granting more time.
- The new recommended timeline for the reform program has now been published.
- The Ministerial Fisheries Advisory Council held meetings on the 4 April 2014, 27 June 2014 and 18 September 2014 – see here for the Chair's Summaries. The fourth meeting is scheduled for 5 December 2014.
- The final report for the NSW Fishing Cooperative Viability Study undertaken by independent economic consultants, GHD Pty Ltd, has been finalised and is now available.
Commercial fisheries reform program
In May 2012, the Government released the Independent Report of Commercial Fisheries Policy, Management and Administration containing 22 key recommendations for change. The Government gave careful consideration to the recommendations and now all 22 key recommendations for change are being broadly adopted.
The reform program seeks to provide improved meaning and value in shares, improved flexibility for shareholders to tailor their access and management costs, improve the overall viability of the NSW commercial fishing industry and to improve investment confidence and support from financial institutions. It should also help to secure greater community acceptance and support for NSW commercial fisheries and commercial fishers in the long run.
The future scheme will enable shareholders to upscale or downscale if they choose, focussing their fishing activities on the preferred species or fisheries and (within sustainability limits) at the levels they consider appropriate for their individual needs. For further information and the Government's response see the links below;
- Government's response to the Independent Review recommendations
- Specific Fishery Information
- Independent Review of Commercial Fisheries Policy, Management and Administration
Linking shares to resource access
A key part of the reform program is to link shares to resource access (or a set "piece of the pie"). Once that happens, even though the size of the pie might change over time due to the stock abundance, a share of the pie stays the same. This means that new fishing effort or competition cannot enter the fishery at any time and undermine access to the resource. The objective is that shareholders will end up with stronger and better defined rights.
Three typical examples of share linkage are:
- each share gives the shareholder a portion of a total catch level that is set - e.g. 1 share = x kg of catch);
- each share gives the shareholder a portion of a total effort level that is set - e.g. 1 share = x amount of gear, or 1 share = x fishing days;
- minimum shareholdings can be used to limit the number of endorsements that are available - (if neither approach above leads to a workable outcome).
DPI is undertaking comprehensive consultation with industry to explore different share linkage options. Share linkage working groups were appointed in May 2013 and the first round of meetings were conducted in June and July. The share linkage working groups are independently chaired and include representatives from industry and DPI. The short listed share linkage options, identified by the share linkage working groups for most fisheries, have been modelled and presented back to the working groups in the second round of meetings held recently. Constructive and robust discussions took place and based on the advice from the working groups DPI undertook further modelling of options and ITCALs. A discussion paper with the share linkage options for each of the fisheries was sent to all shareholders in April 2014 for consideration and comment. The industry feedback and DPI's views will be provided to the independent Structural Adjustment Review Committee (SARC). The SARC will make the final recommendations to Government on share linkage.
Once the form of share linkage and the total catch or effort levels have been decided, fishers will be better placed to make an informed decision about their future in the industry or particular fisheries. Fishers will be able to decide if they wish to exit by submitting a tender to the $15.5 million exit grant program and/or downsize, increase or maintain their current shareholding in preparation for the linking of shares to catch or effort.
The exit grant process will be administered by the NSW Rural Assistance Authority. Tender bids will not be capped and bids deemed 'value for money' will be offered an ex-gratia payment for either the surrender of shares to Government or transfer of shares within the industry. Keep an eye out for future newsletters that go into more detail about how the exit grant scheme will work.
Structural Adjustment Review Committee (SARC)
The Structural Adjustment Review Committee is an independent committee formed to oversee the structural adjustment component of the commercial fisheries reform process and provide recommendations to the government. The committee members include Mr Ian Cartwright as the independent chairperson, Ms Mary Lack as the independent fishery manager and Ms Sevaly Sen is the independent fishery economist.
- More information on the Structural Adjustment Review Committee.
NSW commercial fishing statement of intent
The Minister responsible for fisheries, the Hon. Katrina Hodgkinson has issued a Statement of Intent for NSW commercial fishing industry.
The Statement aims to improve industry confidence and build a strong, sustainable and economically viable commercial fishing industry.
The Statement is part of the Government's commitment to delivering the Commercial Fisheries Reform Program.
- NSW commercial fishing statement of intent [PDF 84KB]
Share trading notice board and current shareholding information
A notice board and current shareholding information is available and aims to facilitate the trading of shares and other items and create a more informed market. The notice board and share holding information is updated regularly.
Study relating NSW commercial fishing co-operatives
Following comments about the possible impacts of the reform program on the viability of fishing co-operatives, NSW DPI set up a working group of co-operative representatives and has funded an independent study that aims to fill some key information gaps and provide a better basis for an informed future policy discussion.
The well regarded consultancy firm, GHD Pty Ltd, was commissioned to undertake the study. It has expertise and experience in this area having undertaken a similar study in 2008/09. The final report is now available:
- Newsletter 2/2014 - October 2014
- Public concerns addressed on commercial mesh netting in specific estuaries [14 Aug 2014]
- NSW Fishing Cooperatives Viability Study
- Minister announces more time for commercial fisheries reform
Useful reform documents
- Information sheet for financial institutions [PDF 45.9kB]
- Government's response to the recommendations of the Independent Review [PDF 157kB]
- Common questions and answers [PDF 320kB]
- Media Release 14 November 2012- Reforms to provide long-term viability to NSW commercial fisheries[PDF 92kB]
- Independent Review of Commercial Fisheries Policy, Management and Administration