Changes to charter fishing licensing arrangements came into effect on 20 January 2023. Charter fishing licence holders need to be aware of the changes to licencing and administrative processes associated with charter fishing in NSW.
The charter fishing boat industry is an important regional industry and a significant commercial user of the community-owned fish resources. The licensing scheme, which came into effect in the year 2000, followed three years of extensive consultation with the charter fishing boat industry and the community. It was introduced to ensure the industry develops in a way that allows fish stocks to be managed in a sustainable manner. The licensing scheme ensures there are no uncontrolled increases in charter fishing boat pressure on fish stocks.
The Fisheries Management Act 1994 (the Act) primary objective is to conserve, develop and share NSW’s fishery resources for the benefit of present and future generations. This Act, and Fisheries Management (General) Regulation 2019 regulate the Recreational fishing rules and Charter fishing licencing arrangements.
The marine and estuarine recreational charter fishing boat sector provides a unique service and enhances the fishing opportunities of recreational anglers. It provides fishing expertise and well-equipped boats to enable recreational anglers to maximise their fishing success across a range of fishing types and species, and to access areas not normally available to them.
Studies on the fishery, which includes the analysis of logbook data, have shown that the charter fishing boat sector involves hundreds of boats, catering to tens of thousands of anglers, with the potential to take large numbers of fish and to have a significant impact on fish stocks. Charter fishing boat operators derive a profit indirectly from the fisheries resource and significantly enhance the catch of recreational anglers by hiring out their knowledge and equipment to recreational fishers.
A key objective of charter boat management is to integrate the management of the recreational charter fishing boat sector into the overall management of NSW fish stocks. As many fish stocks are at or near full exploitation there is a need to ensure that the charter fishing boat sector, along with the recreational and commercial fishing sectors, is included in management arrangements for the conservation and sustainable utilisation of fish stocks.