The lure of commercial fishing reform

More than 30 commercial fishers have already applied to voluntarily surrender their licence under the Marshall Liberal Government’s historic $24 million reform of the South Australian Marine Scalefish Fishery.

New information to help current licence holders decide if they want to take part in the voluntary licence surrender program has been released today regarding the proposed management zones as well as total allowable catches for each species.

Management proposals now open for consultation:

  • Zones: Four proposed management zones: West Coast, Spencer Gulf, Gulf St Vincent/Kangaroo Island and South East.
  • Priority species under quota: initial assessment of the priority species (snapper, King George whiting, southern calamari or southern garfish) which will be managed by individual transferable quota, by region.
  • Catch: the indicative total allowable commercial catches for King George whiting, southern calamari and southern garfish.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the release of the first stage of information will assist licence holder decision-making.

“This new information will assist fishers decide whether they will exit the industry with dignity, or stay and invest in the fishery. We have already had 31 commercial fishers apply and with funding for only 150 voluntary surrender of licences, it is first in-best dressed,” said Minister Whetstone.

“This is another step towards the Marshall Liberal Government’s historic $24 million reform package announced last month, aimed at improving the long-term sustainability of fish stocks in South Australia and increasing the profitability of fishing businesses.

“We are taking action to reverse the decline in all fishing sectors experienced under 16 years of Labor by tackling a major problem in our waters, too many fishers and too few fish.

“These management proposals are the result of extensive consultation with the industry and have been further refined using expert advice and the latest in scientific information.

“This is a once in a lifetime reform of the fishery but I want to be clear to fishers; this will be the only buy out. We are offering a fair market price and the offer will close on 13 November 2020, unless it is fully subscribed earlier. If less than 150 licences are surrendered, the quota will be allocated amongst remaining fishers.”