Fisheries and COVID-19

Australian, state and territory governments are supporting the commercial fishery industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Industry contact

We are working closely with industry to ensure we understand the issues facing fishers and seafood businesses.

Mark Tucker is our Senior Agriculture Industry Engagement Officer and your single point of contact.

Find out what is happening and how you can get involved.


Levies for Commonwealth-managed fisheries have been waived for the rest of 2020. These are collected by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).

See how this change affects you (AFMA).

Air freight support

The International Freight Assistance Mechanism is a $110 million initiative. It will help exporters get their high-value products into key overseas markets.

Return flights will bring back items critical to the ongoing health response. This includes vital medical supplies, medicines and equipment. 

See who is eligible and how to register interest.

Accessing key export markets

Austrade is supporting small and medium-sized business to develop their export markets.

See if you are eligible and how to apply.

Supporting business and employees

The Australian Government is providing financial assistance to Australian businesses and employees.

See if your business is eligible for support.

Financial advice

The Rural Financial Counselling Service can help you put in place a business plan to help meet the current challenges.

Find out how to access help.

Need help?

We provide support to agricultural business in times of hardship.

See available support services.

All states and territories

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New South Wales

See support available for commercial fishing and aquaculture (NSW Department of Primary Industries).

Email for help.

The NSW Government has set up a Covid-19 Small Business Support Grant. Find out if you’re eligible.

DPI Fisheries is working with the NSW Seafood Industry Council. Together they are looking at possible industry support and recovery measures. This includes strategic improvements to the seafood supply chain and digital transformation.

NSW DPI has sponsored industry seafood festivals. These will promote seafood and local communities. These events are placed on hold due to social distancing requirements.

Northern Territory

Find out about programs and initiatives to support business (NT Government).

Designated Areas have been created to protect certain zones. See the guidance on how to safely access designated remote areas (Department of Health). 

Commercial fishing and fishing tour operators have asked for licence fees and levies to be waived or deferred. This will provide relief from cash-flow pressures.

The NT Government is promoting:

  • recreational fishing and permitted activities that meet social distancing measures
  • local businesses and buying local product.


See support for commercial fishers (Business Queensland).

South Australia

See support for commercial fishing (Primary Industries and Regions South Australia).

Find out about changes to rock lobster commercial fishing quota (Primary Industries and Regions South Australia).


Find out about support available for:

You can roll over your uncaught rock lobster quotas (~10%) to the next season.

The Tasmanian government is:

  • facilitating direct sales of seafood
  • promoting local seafood
  • working with peak bodies to develop ways to protect jobs and ensure a fast recovery. This includes options for assessing transport and developing markets
  • working with IMAS at UTAS to track impacts of Covid-19 and model options for how to support the recovery of fisheries
  • ensuring people can still fish recreationally and meet travel and social isolation guidelines
  • providing $300,000 to abalone processors to can the 36 tonnes of product in live tanks when the Chinese market closed. This is funded through the Abalone industry reinvestment fund.


Find out about business support (Business Victoria).

This support includes:

Roll over of uncaught quota for abalone, lobster, giant crab and urchins.

The Victorian Government has:

  • approved the release of lobster from coffs (sea cages) back on to wild reef
  • issued 40 new hook and line permits across 6 ports to provide extra cash flow for industry.

The Aquatic Strategic Advisory Committee is developing a long-term industry recovery plan. This will be for Victorian wildcatch and aquaculture sectors.

Western Australia

Find out about:

Boat pen fees have been waived.

Additional whale mitigation measures are in place. This will reduce the likelihood of increased whale captures from increased fishing in winter months.

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