Peak industry body for NSW commercial fishers

The 2012 Independent Review of NSW Commercial Fisheries Policy, Management and Administration recommended a number of changes to improve management of NSW fisheries and the working relationships between the industry and the government.

One of those recommendations was 'that a state-wide peak body for commercial fishers is required' and 'that the government consider a compulsory industry-wide fee increase to provide financial support for the activities of the peak body for a three year period to facilitate its establishment.'

The independent review team recommended that the body have two main functions:

  1. Delivery of consultation services on behalf of DPI, which are funded through an additional mandatory industry contribution, with the structure, amount and timing of the contribution to be determined.
  2. A representative and advocacy function which is funded through a voluntary fee set by the body and payable directly by shareholders and fishers.

The NSW Government supports the introduction of a peak industry body however ultimately it is up to the commercial fishing industry to determine which body it wants to represent them.

A discussion paper, prepared by Mr Peter Neville, an independent fisheries consultant, was sent to commercial fishers in February 2013 seeking comments about the formation and structure of a peak industry body.

Approximately 70 submissions were received and have been reviewed.

Despite thorough consultation with industry there was no industry mandate to proceed with any particular peak body model.

In the absence of a peak industry body, NSW DPI released a ‘Request for Tender’ for the delivery of consultation services relating to the NSW commercial fishing industry, which did not include any lobbying or advocacy functions.

The Request for Tender documents including a sound probity plan was developed in consultation with an independent probity advisor.  A Tender Evaluation Panel, comprising of a senior DPI officer and three independent persons, assessed the 10 tender responses received, based on predetermined evaluation criteria.

The tender process did not identify a successful tenderer and NSW DPI is currently considering options to identify a way forward.