Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program

The NSW Government’s Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program has introduced linkages between shares and catch or effort, to provide greater certainty and ensure the long-term viability and sustainability of the NSW commercial fishing industry. Fishers now have the ability to invest in their businesses with more certainty than ever before. Importantly, share linkages have been tailored to each share class.

A range of assistance measures has been provided to help industry through this transition process.

Key dates

The following dates relate to the issue of new species and effort quota shares in Estuary General – Hand Gathering, Ocean Hauling – Purse Seine Net, Ocean Trap and Line – Line Fishing Eastern Zone, and Ocean Trawl - Inshore Prawn, Offshore Prawn and Northern Fish Trawl

Fri 28 Sep 2018 ‘Snapshot date’ to determine eligibility for new species and effort quota shares (Note: No transfers for affected businesses from this date until shares issued)
Tue 23 Oct 2018 Issue of new species and effort quota shares
Thu 1 Nov 2018 Applications for assistance measures open (for businesses eligible for new quota shares) – closing date 31 May 2019
Wed 28 Nov 2018 Closing date for appeals to the Share Appeal Panel against the number of quota shares issued to a shareholder
1 - 24 April 2019 Free training workshops are scheduled to assist fishers transition to the new online new quota usage reporting requirements and to familiarise new and existing users with changes that will apply.  Find out more information and book a FishOnline Training workshop (PDF, 132.55 KB).
Wed 1 May 2019 Annual fishing period commences for quota managed species in OHPS, OTLLE, OTISP, OTOSP and OTFN as well as effort quota in OTISP and OTOSP
Fri 31 May 2019Closing date for applications for assistance measures
Fri 28 June 2019Share trading freeze from 28 June to 30 June 2019 to allow for quota allocation for the 2019/20 fishing period (PDF, 157.34 KB)
Mon 1 July 2019 Annual fishing period commences for quota managed species in EGHG (regions 1 to 7)
Mon 1 July 2019'Snapshot date' for 2019/20 Management fees - all fisheries

Changes to fishing boat licensing

From 1 July 2018, you only require a fishing boat licence if you are conducting certain fishing activities, known as “declared commercial fishing boat activities”. You do not need a boat licence for:

  • a boat 6 metres or less in Ocean Hauling: Hauling Net (General Purpose),
  • a boat 10 metres or less in the Estuary General or Estuary Prawn Trawl fishery, or
  • a boat 20 metres or less in Ocean Hauling: Garfish Net (Hauling) or Ocean Hauling: Pilchard Anchovy Bait Net (Hauling).

From 1 May 2019, you will not need a boat licence for boats 20 metres or less in Ocean Trawl Inshore Prawn, Offshore Prawn or Fish Northern Zone.

All other activities that involve the use of a boat are “declared fishing boat activities” and require a boat licence.

For more information please see New boat licensing arrangements fact sheet (PDF, 49.1 KB)

Share linkage and management arrangements

On 1 December 2017 the new share linkage and management arrangements commenced in most share classes.

To learn how you can adapt your business to Quota Management, download the Hunter to Harvester guide (PDF, 1239.88 KB).

Licence renewals and management fees

For information on 2018/19 Commercial Fishing Licence and Fishing Boat Licence renewals and management fees, please see the Licensing & forms webpage.

Monitoring social and economic impacts

In February 2017, the Legislative Council’s General Purpose Standing Committee No. 5 released its final report from an inquiry into commercial fishing in NSW. Among other things, the report recommended “That the NSW Department of Primary Industries commission a Social Impact Assessment of the Business Adjustment Program on commercial fishers in New South Wales and make the findings of the assessment public.”

In response, NSW DPI commissioned Jacki Schirmer from the University of Canberra to identify the impacts of the commercial fisheries reforms and Business Adjustment Program, and recommend a process to monitor these impacts.

The NSW Government has engaged Professor Kate Barclay of the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, to undertake an independent assessment of the social and economic impacts of the NSW Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program and collect information the NSW Government can use for future monitoring of social and economic aspects of commercial fisheries.