Ahead of the NSW state election on 25 March 2023, the NSW Government caretaker period has commenced. Limited updates will be made to this website during this period.

Open for Comment

NSW Commercial Fisheries Business Efficiency Program

The NSW Commercial Fisheries Business Efficiency Program (BEP) provides for changes to improve the performance in the NSW commercial fishing industry now that new ways of managing commercial catch apply.

The BEP will remove red-tape, deliver efficiencies for government, and improve the economic performance of the industry while mitigating substantive change to the sharing or sustainability of fisheries resources in NSW.

What has happened?

The NSW Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program (BAP) – also known as the reform program – has changed the way commercial fishing in NSW is managed.

Commercial fishery shares are now linked to resource access, strengthening fishers’ access to fisheries resources, improving control over long-term commercial catch, and providing an opportunity to review and remove controls that are outdated.

As a consequence of the BAP, in NSW:

  • 25 species (or groups) are now subject to Total Allowable Catch (TAC) and quota
  • 23 sectors are subject to Total Allowable Effort (TAE) and quota
  • The number of fishing business has been reduced
  • The number of endorsements of each kind has been reduced
  • TACs and TAEs are reviewed annually or will be periodically reviewed from 2024

Ongoing review of the performance of fisheries, including the TACs and TAEs that apply, by the independent Total Allowable Fishing Committee or the Secretary of the Department of Regional NSW will ensure that there are processes in place to manage the fishery resources of the State so they are conserved, developed, and shared appropriately for the benefit of present and future generations.

The BEP process

NSW DPI received over 800 proposals from the community, including commercial fishers, on ways to help improve the performance in the NSW commercial fishing industry now that new ways of managing commercial catch apply.

The BEP process involves three important phases:

Phase 1: Initial consideration of proposals by the Commercial Fisheries NSW Advisory Council (CommFish), which is now complete

Phase 2: Discussion and information exchange by a working group consisting of representatives of CommFish and the Recreational Fishing NSW Advisory Council

Phase 3: Consultation

Key considerations during phase 1 and 2 included important matters such as social licence, enforceability, environmental impacts, sustainability, and resource sharing.

Phase 3 (public consultation) has been completed for a batch of 23 proposals (summarised in 19 consultation papers below).

Consultation Papers

Each paper below provides a summary of the activity, the current rule, the proposed change and purpose for the change.

Paper 1. Estuary General Fishery - use of crew when hand gathering and handlining (PDF, 57.24 KB)

Paper 2. Estuary General and Estuary Prawn Trawl fisheries - permitted species (PDF, 71.61 KB)

Paper 3. Estuary General Fishery - species that may be taken in a pilchard & anchovy bait net or a garfish bullringing net (PDF, 102.47 KB)

Paper 4. Estuary General Fishery - hand gathering worm only condition (PDF, 89.28 KB)

Paper 5. Estuary General Fishery - flathead net (PDF, 70.58 KB)

Paper 6. Estuary General Fishery - general-purpose hauling nets (PDF, 95.09 KB)

Paper 7. Ocean Hauling & Estuary General fisheries - general purpose hauling nets (PDF, 77.71 KB)

Paper 8. Ocean Hauling Fishery - general purpose hauling net mesh size (Jervis Bay) (PDF, 112.91 KB)

Paper 9. Estuary General Fishery - Allow staking of Prawn Running Nets in all waters where use is permitted, including within 10m of the high-water mark (PDF, 55.34 KB)

Paper 10. Estuary General Fishery - prawn set pocket nets (PDF, 69.65 KB)

Paper 11. Estuary General Fishery - garfish bullringing nets (PDF, 67.84 KB)

Paper 12. Estuary General and Ocean Trap & Line fisheries - set lines (PDF, 69.17 KB)

Paper 13. Ocean Trap & Line Fishery (line east) - automatic baiting machines (PDF, 68.99 KB)

Paper 14. Estuary General Fishery - bait nets (PDF, 54.6 KB)

Paper 15. Estuary General Fishery - eel traps (PDF, 67.77 KB)

Paper 16. Eastern Rock Lobster Fishery - trap ropes (PDF, 68.21 KB)

Paper 17. Ocean Haul Fishery - Crowdy Head (PDF, 57.24 KB)

Paper 18. Ocean Haul Fishery - Redhead Point (PDF, 56.36 KB)

Paper 19. Ocean Trap and Line fishery - Spanner Crab seasonal closure (PDF, 68.13 KB)

Consultation process 

The consultation process was open from 10 - 24 October 2022. Stakeholders were invited to make a submission on any of the 23 proposals via an online form, email or post.

Submissions are public information

To improve transparency of policy decisions, we intend to make all submissions publicly available on our website. Withholding any information is at our discretion.

If you believe there are grounds to withhold specific information in your submission you must advise the Department. Reasons may include that information is commercially sensitive or personal. You should advise the Department if your reasons relate to the whole submission or only parts of it.

Note that people can ask for copies of submissions (and any other information held by the Department) under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act). The GIPA Act encourages information to be made publicly available, unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.