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AFMA considers prawn management plan

02 Apr 2012

No formal decision on the move to output controls in the Northern Prawn Fishery has been made by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) Commission or the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

An extensive public consultation process has occurred on a new draft plan that proposes to move the fishery from input control (i.e. arrangements that manage fishing effort) to output controls (i.e. arrangements that limit the total catch of prawns). The draft plan was released for public comment on 30 November 2011 and submissions closed on 30 January 2012.

The proposal to manage the fishery by output controls follows the government’s expenditure of $68 million in 2006 to remove excess effort from the fishery. As a condition of this latest round of government’s assistance, the industry agreed to move to output controls unless a strong case could be made that other management options better met the legislative requirements.

In 2006 the government contributed $68 million to restructure the industry under input controls and provided $1.7 million in levy subsidies. The proposed output controls are designed to eliminate the need for further taxpayer-funded assistance in the future.

A final decision from the AFMA Commission is scheduled for June 2012 following further advice from the Northern Prawn Resource Assessment Group and Northern Prawn Fishery Management Advisory Committee. Before taking any final decision on the future management arrangements for the fishery, the AFMA Commission will take detailed account of its obligations under the Fisheries Management Act 1991 including the need to carefully consider the views of all stakeholders.