Fishery Management Plan & Environmental Assessment of Recreational Fishing

Developing a Fishery Management Plan for Recreational Fishing in NSW guided by an Environmental Assessment

Why carry out an environmental assessment?

Many fisheries and fisheries based activities in NSW have been subject to an environmental assessment (EA) which has then guided development of a fishery management plan (FMP). It has also enabled a focus on ensuring that fishing activities are ecologically sustainable and provided a plan to address and manage activities that present risk and impact on the aquatic environment.

Some recreational fishing associated activities such as fish stocking and installation of artificial reefs have already been subject to environmental assessment. While there are long established management policies, and a regulatory framework to manage the fishery consistent with the objects of the Fisheries Management Act (1994), the recreational fishery in NSW has not been subject to a specific environmental assessment process nor has an overall FMP been developed.  While the NSW recreational fishery is managed in accordance with the objects of the Fisheries Management Act 1994, the recreational fishery itself is not a designated fishing activity and therefore has not been subject to legislated EA process.

This project aims to take a proactive approach and address this by undertaking an EA to facilitate development of a FMP to ensure the recreational fishery continues to operate to conserve fish stocks and provide quality recreational fishing opportunities now and into the future.

The term 'environmental' includes biological, economic and social aspects. The EA will be informed by the best available scientific information and will consider the impacts of recreational fishing on target species, by-catch and protected species, fish habitat, the broader ecosystem, and economic and social issues associated with recreational fishing.

What does a fishery management plan do?

A FMP will be developed to set out an appropriate management framework and regime to address and mitigate threats and risks identified in the EA.

The FMP will provide a long term vision for the recreational fishery of NSW including:

  • management goals
  • objectives
  • strategies for achieving the objectives (including the fishing or activity controls)
  • performance indicators
  • monitoring programs that apply to the fishery.

Development of a management plan will provide better transparency and understanding of fisheries management approaches in NSW which will help ensure improved stewardship of our fisheries resources by the recreational fishing sector.

How will the EA and FMP be completed?

The EA and FMP will be completed in two key stages based on NSW’ saltwater and freshwater recreational fisheries. Phase 1 will involve an assessment of the saltwater fishery, taking account and building on the existing findings from the Marine Estate Statewide Threat and Risk Assessment (TARA). It will involve finer scale assessment of recreational fishing methods and techniques, as well as an additional risk assessment process for the offshore fishery. Stage 2 will involve an assessment of the freshwater fishery using a similar risk assessment framework used for the saltwater fishery.

The documents will be prepared in conjunction with an EA Network Group, RFNSW and other key stakeholders. The draft EA and FMP will go out for broader public consultation before they are finalised.

Further information

If you require further information regarding the development of the FMP for recreational fishing in NSW, please contact rec.fmp@dpi.nsw.gov.au.