Fisheries Management Amendment Act 2015 (NSW)

New South Wales
Issues (subject): 
Rights and interests - customary

Stated purpose:

The purpose of the Act is to amend the Fisheries Management Act 1994 (NSW) to allow for the management of fishery resources.

Native title implications:

The Act contains provisions relating to Aboriginal cultural fishing, advisory committees, possession limits, and the Aboriginal Trust Fund.

The Act establishes the Aboriginal Fishing Trust Fund. Fees for services provided by the Department, fees for permits, and other money received by the Department for the purposes of enhancing, maintaining, or protecting Aboriginal cultural fishing shall be paid into the trust. Funds for providing economic development opportunities for Aboriginal communities in relation to fishing or fishing-related activities will also be paid into the Fund. The Fund may be used for enhancing, maintaining, or protecting Aboriginal cultural fishing, or for providing fishing or fishing related economic development opportunities.

The Minister may approve the taking and possession of fish or marine vegetation including for the purpose of Aboriginal cultural fishing, which remains, by definition, non-commercial. The Minister cannot grant an approval for Aboriginal cultural fishing if the authorised fishing activities would be inconsistent with native title rights and interests under an approved determination. The Minister can impose possession limits for fish, in addition to existing regulatory possession limits but must consult any relevant advisory group or council about any proposal to specify or change daily catch limits.

The Act abolishes the Management Advisory Committee and allows the Secretary to establish and abolish advisory groups under the Act. In relation to proposed management plans, the Minister is to consult with any advisory councils or groups representing commercial or recreational fishers’ interests, Indigenous interests, or conservation interests. The Act also contains a provision authorising the Minister to make orders requiring live abalone holders to implement specified measures to minimise the risk of declared disease transmission.

For further information please see the Explanatory Note and Second Reading Speech.