Third Meeting of Fisheries Ministers

31 March 2017, Sydney

Today was the third meeting of Australian Fisheries Ministers and senior officials from the Commonwealth, state and Northern Territory governments. The meeting was chaired by Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator the Hon. Anne Ruston and coincided with Sustainable Seafood Day.

Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to sustainable fisheries management and discussed key issues for Australia’s fisheries and aquaculture sectors:

  • Reducing red tape - governments are working together towards new management arrangements for a number of fisheries that are the subject of joint Commonwealth and state management arrangements.
  • White spot disease – Queensland outlined actions taken to date to eradicate the outbreak and acknowledged the support provided by the Commonwealth and other jurisdictions. Ministers supported the importance of a national approach to biosecurity including coordinated approaches and communications.
  • National Aquaculture Strategy - Ministers noted progress of the National Aquaculture Strategy, which will fulfil a 2013 Australian Government election commitment and identify actions that aim to double the value of Australia’s growing aquaculture industry to $2 billion by 2026.
  • Productivity Commission report - the final report into Marine Fisheries and Aquaculture will be tabled in Federal Parliament by 24 May 2017. Following release of the report Fisheries Ministers will discuss further opportunities for a collaborative, cross-jurisdictional approach to improve fisheries management arrangements and progress relevant recommendations.
  • Managing recreational catch of southern bluefin tuna – Ministers noted the Commonwealth’s commitment to  a national approach to resource sharing of southern bluefin tuna between the commercial and recreational sectors, in light of Australia’s international obligations.
  • National Carp Control Plan - Ministers reviewed early progress to develop a National Plan to reduce carp populations and agreed to the convening of inter-agency workshops within affected jurisdictions to continue discussions.
  • Commonwealth legislative recognition of recreational and Indigenous fishers - Ministers noted the proposed amendments to Commonwealth legislation to improve opportunities for recreational and Indigenous fishers to contribute to the management of Commonwealth fisheries.
  • Recreational Fishing - Ministers were updated by Victoria on its initiatives to increase recreational fishing in the state. Ministers noted initiatives underway across Australia to foster the recreational fishing experience and opportunities.
  • National Plan of Action for Seabirds - Ministers supported the development of a National Plan of Action which will fulfil Australia’s international obligations for reducing the incidental catch of seabirds in longline fisheries.
  • Fisheries Representative Bodies - Ministers noted the appointment of an interim Board for Seafood Industry Australia and the formation of the National Recreational Fishing Council.
  • Ministers noted the success of the first National Gone Fishing Day and committed to supporting the event in 2017.