Fishers' concerns addressed as part of reform
The NSW Government today announced amendments to the Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program in direct response to concerns raised by the industry.
In May, the NSW Government announced reforms of the commercial fishing industry, which helps fishers invest and provides them the tools to better manage their business.
Key changes announced today include the timing of Interim Total Commercial Access Levels and the need to accommodate unendorsed fishers.
NSW Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said these changes were part of ongoing consultation with the industry as part of the reform process.
“There is no doubt that the reform to the commercial fishing industry is complex and that’s why feedback from industry is so important – and we always said we would take on board this feedback to inform the structural changes,” Mr Blair said.
“These changes will go a long way in ensuring this state’s commercial fishing industry is viable.”
Interim Total Commercial Access Level arrangements were set until 2019 but the NSW Government will now extend them to 2024 to provide greater certainty.
Some of the linkage arrangements in the Ocean Hauling and Estuary General fisheries will be brought forward, enabling the use of unendorsed crew and extra traps if extra shares are held.
It will allow fishers to consolidate shares now and benefit straight away from the operational efficiencies that the Business Adjustment Program was designed to deliver.
The NSW Government has also engaged an independent facilitator to advise of other issues regarding implementation of the Business Adjustment Program that should be considered.
This will include working with industry on the establishment of a new Commercial Fishing NSW Advisory Council.
The NSW Government is supporting fishers to adjust to the changes with a $16 million fund, which provides fishing business buyouts of $20,000.
The NSW Government will subsidise the cost for active fishers who choose to increase their current shareholding, or sell shares in the upcoming subsidised share trading market.