Fourth Meeting of Fisheries Ministers

1 December 2017, Adelaide

Today was the fourth meeting of Australian Fisheries Ministers. The meeting was chaired by
the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator the Hon. Anne Ruston.

The Australian Fisheries Ministers Meeting provides an opportunity for governments to explore new ideas, work towards streamlined fisheries management arrangements to reduce regulatory burden to Australia's fishing and aquaculture indus​​tries and to consider and support the interests of commercial, recreational and Indigenous fishers.

The meeting discussed a range of priority issues facing Australia's fisheries and aquaculture sectors nationally. Ministers also:

  • noted the recent decisions taken by the Commonwealth on the allocation of Australia's southern bluefin tuna (SBT) catch and agreed to continue to work together on arrangements for managing recreational catch of SBT that would be formalised through a Memorandum of Understanding for resource sharing arrangements for SBT between the commercial and recreational sectors. Ministers also supported a national survey of recreational fishing for SBT to inform future fisheries arrangements.
  • supported the progress in finalising the National Plan of Action for Minimising the Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Australian Capture Fisheries (NPOA Seabirds) which fulfils Australia's international commitments to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization and demonstrates Australia's commitment to sustainable fisheries management, further enhances Australia's reputation and helps to strengthen our international seafood brand.
  • supported the progress of the National Carp Control Plan, and endorsed all steps required to understand and manage risks associated with possible release of the carp virus.
  • noted the Australian Government has announced its intention to facilitate aquaculture operations in Commonwealth waters and is considering options to do this with the State/Territory jurisdictions, having regard for existing aquatic resource users, and will keep Ministers informed as these options progress.
  • endorsed the development of a collaborative cross-jurisdictional approach for progressing recommendations on Offshore Constitutional Settlement arrangements, shared fish stocks, and resource sharing informed by the jurisdictions and the Productivity Commission's final report on the regulatory burden impacting the marine fisheries and aquaculture sectors.
  • noted emerging international seafood trade requirements around traceability and sustainability and committed to working with the Australian Government on developing consolidated responses to current requests from the United States.
  • noted recent changes to the Biosecurity Act 2015 that have allowed for stronger arrangements in ballast water management. Ministers also noted the progress in developing biofouling requirements for vessels arriving into Australian territory and the progress across governments in response to the detection of White Spot disease in Queensland prawn farms.
  • noted the Australian Government is finalising the revised Commonwealth Fisheries Bycatch and Harvest Strategy Policies and associated guidelines in particular to include environmental and economic indicators for multispecies fisheries for the harvest policy, and performance indicators for the bycatch policy.
  • discussed mental health issues in the Australia's professional fishing industry and opportunities to support industry including streamlining regulatory burden and security of access to resources. Ministers noted the existing government services available, that may need further promotion.
  • see the value in endorsing schools based education programs that promote sustainable fishing practices.​