The Commonwealth Fisheries Harvest Strategy Policy (Bycatch Policy) is currently under review. The Australian Government is seeking public feedback on the policy. You can have your say here until 17 November 2023.
The Commonwealth Fisheries 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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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 in 2013 the Harvest Strategy Policy and its associated implementation guidelines were revised to capture new developments in fisheries management and science.
The revised policy and guidelines were released on 21 November 2018 and 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 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.
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.
The 2018 Harvest Strategy Policy requires that it be reviewed five years after commencement. A review of the policy is currently underway in 2023.
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