Developmental Commercial Fisheries

Underwater habitat

From time to time individuals and groups express an interest in exploring opportunities to harvest fisheries resources they perceive to be under-utilised in NSW waters, or using unique fishing methods not authorised under the State's existing Fisheries Management Strategies.

Any decision to authorise the exploitation of under-utilised fisheries resources or the use of new methods requires an assessment of the likely environmental, social and economic impacts.

In some instances the department may determine that a particular developmental fishery is likely to bring considerable benefit to the State and therefore warrants the investment of departmental (or other) public resources. In these instances the department has the option of carrying out the environmental assessment and taking the project through to the approval stage and then offering entitlements to participate in the fishery by public tender.

Review of Developmental Commercial Fishery Application And Assessment Process Underway

Fisheries NSW is reviewing the application and assessment process for applications made under the Developmental Commercial Fisheries Policy. No new applications are being accepted until the review is complete. The website will be updated once the review is completed and applications are again being accepted.

Applications for Developmental Commercial Fishing Activities

The NSW Department of Primary Industries is currently assessing the following applications to undertake developmental commercial fishing activities for the following species / species groups:

Target Species

Proposal Summary

Crystal Crab

(Chaceon bicolor)

Waters

  • Ocean waters between 350 and 2,200 metres depth.
  • Eden to Forster, NSW

Gear / Method

  • Demersal crab pots (final design to be confirmed during trial) attached to lines of various lengths and various pot numbers per line (1,000 demersal crab pots).
  • Demersal crab pots design trial to include trial pots with escape panels.
  • Demersal crab pots to be deployed with submerged headgear to minimise interactions with marine fauna and other stakeholders.

Anticipated harvest and catch restrictions

  • Annual harvest of 60 to 80 tonnes of Chaceon bicolor.

Duration of permit

  • A permit is being sought for 5 years.

Target Species

Proposal Summary

Crystal Crab

(Chaceon bicolor)

Waters

  • Ocean waters between 300 and 2,000 metres depth.
  • State wide – subject to Marine Protected Area zoning arrangements.

Gear / Method

  • Demersal crab pots attached to 10 lines of 100 pots per line (1,000 demersal crab pots).
  • Demersal crab pots to include escape panels.

Anticipated harvest and catch restrictions

  • Annual catch of approximately 139 tonnes of Chaceon bicolor proposed to be harvested.
  • Apply a minimum legal size limit of 120 mm (carapace width).
  • Berried female crabs will not be retained.

Duration of permit

  • A permit is being sought for 5 years.

Target Species

Proposal Summary

Gloomy Octopus

(Octopus tetricus)

Maori Octopus

(Pinnoctopus cordiformis)

Waters

  • Ocean waters between 10 and 80 metres depth (excluding enclosed waters, harbours, ports and estuaries).
  • State wide – subject to Marine Protected Area zoning arrangements.

Gear / Method

  • 500 unbaited demersal traps set per day (over 4 day rotation (2,000 demersal traps).
  • Demersal traps attached to longline consisting of a negatively buoyant ground line and vertically set float line to minimise interactions with marine fauna and other stakeholders.
  • Demersal traps to be set on sandy or silty substrates at least 30 metres from reef substrate.

Anticipated harvest and catch restrictions

  • Annual catch of approximately 30 tonnes of Gloomy (Octopus tetricus), and Maori Octopus (Pinnoctopus cordiformis) will be harvested.
  • Pale Octopus (Octopus pallidus) and Hammer Octopus (Octopus australis) may be retained as byproduct.

Duration of permit

  • A permit is being sought for 3 years.

Target Species

Proposal Summary

Common Kelp

(Ecklonia radiata)

Cray weed

(Phyllospora comosa)

Neptunes necklace

(Hormosira banksia)

Sea Lettuce

(Ulva spp.)

Green Sea Velvet

(Codium spp.)

Strap Weed

(Caulerpa spp.)

No common name

(Porphyra spp.)

No common name

(Pterocladia spp.)

Waters

  • Waters less than 10 metres depth between Sydney and Wollongong and possibly throughout NSW.

Gear / Method

  • Hand collection using SCUBA, hookah or snorkel (with some shore based collection as required).

Anticipated harvest and catch restrictions

  • Harvest of 50 kilograms per species per day (all species listed in the Target Species Column).
  • Harvest of 100 kilograms per species per week (all species listed in the Target Species Column).

Duration of permit

  • A permit is being sought for 5 years.

Target Species

Proposal Summary

Red Morwong

(Cheilodactylus fuscus)

Banded Morwong

(Cheilodactylus spectabilis)

Crimsonbanded Wrasse

(Notolabrus gymnogenis)

Bluethroat Wrasse

(Notolabrus tetricus)

Southern Maori Wrasse

(Ophthalmolepis lineolatus)

Eastern Red Scorpionfish

(Scorpaena cardinalis / jacksoniensis)

Eastern Wirrah

(Acanthistus ocellatus)

Goatfish

(Family Mullidae)

Leatherjacket

(Family Monacanthidae)

Waters

  • Waters between 5 and 30 metres depth between Coffs Harbour and Eden and associated with near shore rock reef habitat (excluding marine protected areas and waters closed by Fisheries NSW).

Gear / Method

  • Commercial harvest diver or divers on surface supply (hookah equipment) to herd target species into barrier net (12m x 2.5m x 19mm mesh), capture target species in a hand scoop net, transfer captured target species to storage in boat and move target species to holding facility.
  • Undesired species to be released.

Anticipated harvest and catch restrictions

  • Harvest of between 40 tonnes to 60 tonnes combined of all target species over a five year period (all species listed in the Target Species Column).

Duration of permit

  • A permit  is being sought for 5 years, with an option to review the level of harvest after year three of the permit.

Authorisation to undertake developmental commercial fishing activities may be granted by permit issued under Section 37 of the Fisheries Management Act 1994.

When making a decision to authorise developmental commercial fishing activities the Department is required to give effect to the objects of the Fisheries Management Act 1994; the environmental assessment requirements of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979; and have regard to relevant scientific, industry, community, social and economic factors.

For further information call  1300 726 488.