Licensing arrangements

Introduction

The Fisheries Management Act 1994 provides for the management of recreational charter fishing boat activities by the issuance of a recreational charter fishing boat licence. This licence may be issued to applicants, as prescribed under S127C(1) of the Act, who meet the specified eligibility criteria. Applicants, depending on how they meet the eligibility criteria, may be granted either a transferable or a non-transferable recreational charter fishing boat licence.

The licence does not authorise charter fishing other than in accordance with the conditions of the charter fishing boat licence. Licences may be renewed annually, upon payment of the prescribed fee.

Licences, whether transferable or non-transferable, may be endorsed, as a condition of the licence, to conduct guided recreational charter fishing activities in one or more of the four charter fishing categories:

  • Estuarine Fishing;
  • Nearshore Bottom Fishing and Sportfishing;
  • Gamefishing; and/or
  • Deep Sea Bottom Fishing

Eligibility Criteria

To operate a recreational charter fishing boat in the marine and estuarine charter fishing boat sector operators must possess a recreational charter fishing boat licence for that boat.

A person who has a recreational charter fishing boat registered in his or her name, or which is leased for the purpose of conducting guided recreational charter fishing activities, should have submitted an application for a transferable or non-transferable recreational charter fishing boat licence.

Applications for either a transferable or a non-transferable recreational charter fishing boat licence were required on a form approved by the Minister.

An application for the gaining of a recreational charter fishing boat licence, or the renewal of an existing licence, may be refused if:

  • the information requested to accompany the application is not provided; or
  • the specified eligibility criteria are not met; or
  • the applicant has been convicted of an offence under the Act, or regulations made under the Act, or of an offence relating to commercial or recreational fishing under the law of the Commonwealth, another State, or a Territory; or
  • the applicant has been convicted of an offence relating to the theft of fish, fishing gear or a boat or intentional damage to fishing gear or a boat; or
  • the applicant has been convicted of an offence relating to an assault on a fisheries official; or
  • the applicant has not paid any fee due and payable in connection with his or her recreational charter fishing boat licence.

Depending on how the eligibility criteria are met either a transferable or a non-transferable licence may be issued.

Transferable Recreational Charter Fishing Boat Licences

To obtain a transferable recreational charter fishing boat licence, with approved endorsement(s), the following eligibility criteria must have been met for each boat for which a licence was sought. Applications for a transferable charter fishing boat licence have been refused when the applicant was unable to prove:

  • they were actively engaged in guided recreational charter fishing activities in the NSW marine and estuarine recreational charter fishing boat sector on, or before, 22 October 1997;
  • they were engaged in guided recreational charter fishing activities for at least 100 days during any two year period between 22 October 1995 and 4 August 1999; and
  • the vessel(s) they used complied with all relevant NSW Waterways Authority’s survey registration requirements, or other relevant authority as approved by the Minister for the period of claimed operation, which must be consistent with the category(s) of charter fishing operations claimed to have been performed.
  • to the satisfaction of the Minister that the history of operations they are claiming, in support of their application, belongs to them.

Evidence in support of the eligibility criteria was required and must have included audited receipts of operation and/or charter fishing boat logbook or daybook entries, NSW Waterways Authority survey registration documentation, and other evidence of operations in NSW waters, including advertising and/or promotional material supporting claimed charter fishing operations.

Non-Transferable Recreational Charter Fishing Boat Licences

To obtain a non-transferable recreational charter fishing boat licence, with approved endorsement(s), the following eligibility criteria must have been met for each boat for which a licence was sought.

Applications for a non-transferable charter fishing boat licence have been refused when the applicant was unable to prove:

  • they were actively engaged in guided recreational charter fishing activities in the NSW marine and estuarine recreational charter fishing boat sector on, or before, the 22 October 1997;
  • they were engaged in guided recreational charter fishing activities for between 50 to 99 days during any two year period between 22 October 1995 and 4 August 1999; and
  • the vessel(s) they used complied with all relevant NSW Waterways Authority’s survey registration requirements, or other relevant authority as approved by the Minister for the period of claimed operation, which must be consistent with the category(s) of operations claimed to have been performed.
  • to the satisfaction of the Minister that the history of operations they are claiming, in support of their application, belongs to them.

Evidence in support of the eligibility criteria was required and must have included audited receipts of operation and/or charter fishing boat logbook or daybook entries, NSW Waterways Authority survey registration documentation, and other evidence of operations in NSW waters, including advertising and/or promotional material supporting claimed charter fishing operations.

Licence Transfers

Only holders of a transferable recreational charter fishing boat licence are allowed to transfer that licence from one recreational charter fishing boat to another boat, by making application to the Minister for Primary Industries.

Holders of non-transferable recreational charter fishing boat licences cannot transfer such licences from one recreational charter fishing boat to another boat.

Review Process

An applicant for either a transferable or a non-transferable recreational charter fishing boat licence who feels they have reason to appeal against a decision in relation to their eligibility for such a licence, or the endorsements allocated to that licence, has two avenues of appeal.

  • to the Charter Boat Review Panel, which has a discretionary review function. The panel consists of three members (two recreational fishing sector representatives and a NSW DPI representative) and may review applications taking information, besides a strict or literal interpretation of the eligibility criteria, into account. This discretionary review function is, however, strictly limited and may include factors such as delays in the building, repair or delivery of a boat which impacts on the ability of an applicant to meet the eligibility criteria. Members of the Charter Boat Review Panel were appointed by the Minister.
  • to the Administrative Decisions Tribunal, under Part 4, Division 6 of the Act, for a review of a decision. The Tribunal does not have a discretionary function and can only review the appropriateness of administrative decisions against the eligibility criteria.

Please contact NSW DPI on (02) 4424 7414 for further information regarding charter boat licensing arrangements in NSW.