Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy and Guidelines

​​The harvest strategy policy and associated implementation guidelines aim to ensure key commercial fish species are managed for long–term biological sustainability and to maximise the net economic returns to the Australian community. The policy also seeks to provide the fishing industry with a more certain operating environment.

The harvest strategy policy provides a framework that allows a precautionary, evidence–based approach to setting total allowable catch levels in all Commonwealth fisheries on a fishery by fishery basis, to ensure that fisheries provide maximum economic returns while maintaining stocks at sustainable levels. The implementation guidelines provide practical advice on how to interpret and apply the harvest strategy policy to Australia’s fisheries and contain details of the science behind the fisheries management decisions.

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Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest ​Strategy Policy DOCX222.8 MB
Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest ​Strategy Policy PDF28852 KB
Guidelines for the Implementation of the Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy DOCX714.6 MB
Guidelines for the Implementation of the Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy PDF801.4 MB

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History of the Harvest Strategy Policy

In December 2005, the Australian Government Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation issued a ministerial direction to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) under section 91 of the Fisheries Administration Act 1991. The ministerial direction included a requirement for the development of a world's best practice harvest strategy policy for Commonwealth fisheries.

In September 2007 the Australian Government released the ‘Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy and Guidelines’. AFMA has developed harvest strategies consistent with the policy in all major Commonwealth fisheries.

Following a review of the Harvest Strategy Policy and Guidelines, the revised Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy and Guidelines for the Implementation of the Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy were released on 21 November 2018.

The revised Harvest Strategy Policy and Guidelines

The Harvest Strategy Policy and its associated implementation guidelines were revised following the review to capture new developments in fisheries management and science.

The policy revisions ensure that the policy settings continue to allow the government to pursue fisheries management objectives in a way that represents world’s best practice. Changes in the 2018 policy include more direction on meeting environmental and economic objectives in multispecies fisheries and the application of the policy to internationally managed fisheries. Further, byproduct species are now covered within the scope of the policy.

The revised policy was subject to public consultation in 2017. The department also held consultation workshops with targeted stakeholders (scientists, industry, recreational fishers and environmental non-government organisations) on the policies and guidelines.

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