Assistance measures

As part of the Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program, some commercial fishers purchased shares to secure their level of business activity, while others sold their shares and may have chosen to exit the industry.

A range of assistance measures have been available throughout the reform, to help industry through this transition process. Some of this assistance is still available.

Professional advice grants

Grants up to $1,000 are available to any shareholder in a share management fishery or eligible nominated fisher (the applicant) to engage a professional to assist and/or to provide the following:

Financial Advice

A payment of up to $1,000 is available for shareholders in a share management fishery or eligible nominated fishers to access independent financial advice through an accountant or financial adviser to inform future business planning.

Legal advice

A payment of up to $1,000 was previously available for fishers to seek independent legal advice to assist their understanding of the Subsidised Share Trading Market rules. As the market has now been completed this form of assistance is no longer available.

More information is available from the Rural Assistance Authority.

Support services

A number of free support services are available to assist anyone who is experiencing difficulty, stress or mental health issues, whether related to the Business Adjustment Program or not. These include several telephone helplines which operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as well as free financial counselling and health services.

DPI maintains a list of these support services, most of which are available to fishers as well as rural primary producers.

Retraining assistance

For fishers who choose to exit the industry, a grant of up to $10,000 is available to assist with retraining expenses.

This assistance will cover things such as course fees, travel to and from course locations, meals and accommodation during course attendance, as well as stationery, tools and equipment.

More information is available from the Rural Assistance Authority

Assistance for fishing cooperatives

Some fishing cooperatives may experience a short-term reduction in profitability if they experience a reduction in members through the transition process.

A one-off payment of up to $30,000 is available for fishing cooperatives to help with the cost of obtaining specialist advice on how they may adjust their business depending on what their members choose to do through the BAP.

For fishing cooperatives located on Crown land, a standard long‑term lease will be made available to help long-term business planning, and a rent waiver for the next two years will apply.

There is also ongoing assistance for fishing cooperatives and the fishing industry generally through significant investment in major port infrastructure.

More information on assistance for cooperatives is available from the Rural Assistance Authority.

NSW Small Business Commissioner

The NSW Small Business Commissioner will provide ongoing support to fishers as the industry continues to adjust . The Business Connect program is available to help fishers that are considering exiting or adjusting their business.

Visit the Department of Industry website for more information.

Community awareness campaign

The NSW Government will partner with industry to boost awareness for the NSW commercial fishing industry. Over the next two years, $400,000 will fund the implementation of programs to build community support for the NSW fishing industry and improving local seafood demand.

This will help build a strong and valued reputation for a viable and productive commercial fishing industry in NSW.

Cap on management fees

The NSW Government delayed increases to management fees for fishers for 4 years, until July 2018 to give fishers more certainty through the transition process.

After July 2018, any increase in the total revenue collected from commercial fishing management charges will be capped at no more than 6% per year (above CPI) for a five-year period.

Application fees for paper-based share and fishing business transfers were also waived over the adjustment period, but are being reintroduced from 1 March 2018.