Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy and Guidelines

​In December 2005, the then Australian Government Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation issued a ministerial direction to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority 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. The harvest strategy policy was developed to satisfy that requirement.

In September 2007 the then Australian Government released the ‘Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy and Guidelines’. The then minister required the Australian Fisheries Management Authority to implement harvest strategies in all relevant Commonwealth fisheries by January 2008.

What is the Harvest Strategy Policy?

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

The harvest strategy policy provides a framework that allows a strategic, science–based approach to setting total allowable catch levels in all Commonwealth fisheries on a fishery by fishery basis. 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.

Review of the Harvest Strategy Policy and Guidelines

On 27 May 2013, the then Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry  released the final report on the review of the Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy and Guidelines.

Overall the review found that the harvest strategy policy is widely regarded as having been a very successful initiative for improving the management of Commonwealth fisheries and remains a strong foundation for Commonwealth fisheries management. The review also found that the policy and guidelines meet or exceed the standards of relevant international obligations and continue to represent best practice in most respects.

More information on the review of the harvest strategy policy, including the final report, is available online.