Assistance measures

As part of the Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program, some commercial fishers purchased shares to secure their level of business activity, while others sold their shares and may have chosen to exit the industry.

A range of assistance measures have been available throughout the reform, to help industry through this transition process. There is still assistance available as the industry continues to adjust in preparation for the new share linkage arrangements which commence from 1 December 2017


Professional advice grants

Grants up to $2,000 are available to any shareholder in a share management fishery or eligible nominated fisher (the applicant) to engage a professional to assist and/or to provide the following:

Financial Advice

A payment of up to $1,000 is available for shareholders in a share management fishery or eligible nominated fishers to access independent financial advice through an accountant or financial adviser to inform future business planning.

Legal advice

A payment of up to $1,000 is available for fishers to seek independent legal advice.

More information is available from the Rural Assistance Authority.

Fisher Care Line

The Fisher Care Line is still, available providing a telephone based coaching session to any fishers affected by the NSW Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program. These sessions will provide fishers with support if they are experiencing higher levels of stress that can be experienced when going through any transition period.

If you would like to make an appointment for a session, please call 1800 137 929 or email admin@mhri.com.au

Fishing business buyout

As part of the Adjustment Subsidy Program, fixed payments of up to $20,000 are available for fishing business buyouts until 1 December 2017.

This gives business owners options to consolidate or sell shares from a fishing business and then cancel the fishing business.

Visit the Forms and Permits page for application form.

Low interest rate loans

Low interest rate loans of up to $80,000 are available to assist commercial fishing operators with the purchase of shares within or following the subsidised share trading market, to meet the new commercial fisheries management framework. Applications for assistance must be lodged on or before 1 December 2017. More information is available from the Rural Assistance Authority.

Retraining assistance

For fishers who choose to exit the industry, a grant of up to $10,000 is available to assist with retraining expenses.

This assistance will cover things such as course fees, travel to and from course locations, meals and accommodation during course attendance, as well as stationery, tools and equipment.

More information is available from the Rural Assistance Authority

Assistance for fishing cooperatives

Some fishing cooperatives may experience a short-term reduction in profitability if they experience a reduction in members through the transition process.

A one-off payment of up to $30,000 is available for fishing cooperatives to help with the cost of obtaining specialist advice on how they may adjust their business depending on what their members choose to do through the BAP.

For fishing cooperatives located on Crown land, a standard long‑term lease will be made available to help long-term business planning, and a rent waiver for the next two years will apply.

There is also ongoing assistance for fishing cooperatives and the fishing industry generally through significant investment in major port infrastructure.

More information on assistance for cooperatives is available from the Rural Assistance Authority.

The NSW Office of the Small Business Commissioner

The NSW Office of the Small Business Commissioner provided advice and support to fishers throughout the Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program and subsidised share trading market.

This support will be ongoing, assisting fishers who wish to to restructure and continue to build their businesses.

Community awareness campaign

The NSW Government will partner with industry to boost awareness for the NSW commercial fishing industry. Over the next two years, $400,000 will fund the implementation of programs to build community support for the NSW fishing industry and improving local seafood demand.

This will help build a strong and valued reputation for a viable and productive commercial fishing industry in NSW.

Cap on management fees

The NSW Government will delay increases to management fees for fishers until July 2018. After that, any increase in the total revenue collected from commercial fishing management charges will be capped at no more than 6% per year (above CPI) for a five-year period. This will give fishers more certainty through the transition process.

The current waiver of share transfer fees will also remain until after the ASP is completed.

Support services

Free support services are available to assist people, whether related to the Business Adjustment Program or not. These services include free financial counselling and advice and health services, and a number of help lines for men, women, youth and families. You can find a listing of these support services, which identifies a number of assistance help lines who are there to support not only rural primary producers, but fishers also.