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Fisheries Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2000

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(Circulated by the authority of the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, the Hon Warren Truss MP)











The purpose of the Fisheries Legislation Amendment Bill (No.2) 1999 is to introduce new measures for control, monitoring and enforcement of foreign and domestic fishing operations, including the collection of accurate fishing data, to increase management effectiveness and support sustainable use of Australia’s fisheries resources.




There is no direct financial impact from the components of the Bill associated with improving data collection and enforcement action against misreporting fishing.  The financial impact of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority being liable to pay fringe benefits tax (FBT) is estimated as amounting to $ 60,000 for the 1998/99 financial year had the Authority been liable to FBT.  For the future, AFMA is considering salary packaging arrangements which may increase the FBT paid but would be exactly offset by reduced cash salaries .




Item 1: Short title


This item provides for the Act to be called the Fisheries Legislation Amendment Act (No. 2) 1999 .


Item 2: Commencement


The Act is to commence on Royal Assent, subject to the variations below.


Both Schedules 1 and 2 commence on a day or days to be fixed by Proclamation.  Should a Part of these Schedules not have commenced within six months of the Act receiving Royal Assent, the Part will commence the day after this period.


Item 3: Schedule(s)

This clause provides that the Acts referred to in the Schedules are amended as set out in the Schedules and the other items in the Schedules have effect according to their terms.


Schedule 1 - Amendment of the Fisheries Administration Act 1991


Item 1: Paragraph 7(da)

This item will allow for the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) to manage and carry out programs such as adjustment, restructuring, exploratory and feasibility programs not developed by AFMA in addition to those developed by AFMA.


Item 2: Paragraph 7(e)


This item adds to the functions of AFMA by enabling the placement of observers on foreign fishing boats on the high seas to gather scientific and compliance data.  Such placement would only occur where there is a fisheries management arrangement involving Australia and the foreign vessels flag State (nationality) and an agreed requirement for embarkation of an observer.


Item 3: At the end of section 87

This item adds a new clause to a section which deals with exemption of AFMA from tax liabilities.  As a result AFMA would become liable to pay fringe benefits tax.  The amendment does not apply retrospectively.

Schedule 2 - Amendment of the Fisheries Management Act 1991


Part 1 - Fisheries Administration Act 1991


Item 1: After section 8

8A Regulations may provide for placement of observers on foreign fishing boats operating outside the AFZ

This is a new item which provides for the making of regulations allowing for the placement of observers onboard foreign fishing boats operating outside the Australian fishing zone.  This would provide flexibility to implement arrangements agreed both with foreign countries and within regional fisheries organisations.  It would also provide a legitimate basis for observers being placed on foreign boats on the high seas.  Observers would utilise limited powers for their duties of gathering data for research and compliance monitoring.


Item 2: Paragraph 14(2)(c)

This item adds new clauses to extend the making of regulations to cover requiring records and returns of by-catch taken.  A regulation requiring collection of data of by-catches taken in the course of fishing operations removes any doubt over the capacity of the present provisions to explicitly allow for regulation to cover the making of returns in relation to by-catch.  Such regulations could for example be necessary to gather data on the effect of long lining on seabirds.


Item 3: Subsection 15(3)

This item provides a revision to clarify the meaning of the clause by deleting a second ‘or’.


Item 4: At the end of subsection 17(1A)

Item 5: After subsection 17(1A)

Item 6: Subsection 17(1B)

These items clarify the requirements for AFMA to make and Gazette a determination when a plan of management is not warranted and also to revoke a previous determination.


Item 7: Subsection 17(6D)

This item replaces a existing provision in order to clarify management of incidental catch of fish and non fish species.  The replacement paragraph requires provisions, eg. mitigation measures, in management plans directed at reducing to a minimum incidental catch not taken under or in accordance with that plan.


Item 8: Subsection 17A(1)

This item increases AFMA’s notification responsibilities in preparing draft fishery management plans by adding a need to notify stakeholders of a determination affecting the preparation of a fishery management plan.


Item 9: Paragraph 94(4)(d)

This item increases the flexibility of a port permit by enabling it to authorise the Master of a foreign fishing boat to bring that boat into an Australian port on multiple occasions.


Item 10: Subsection 94(8) (definition of foreign fishing boat )

This item repeals and replaces the definition of a foreign fishing boat.  It will allow regulation of port access by foreign boats which are either equipped for fishing or being used, or are intended to be used, to support fishing.  Such regulation can be used to deter or not to support fishing (through provisioning, bunkering etc) by foreign boats engaged in illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.  This item also clarifies that this control of access to ports covers foreign boats equipped for fishing which need not also to have been boats designed for fishing.


Item 11: Paragraph 95(1)(d)

Item 12: Paragraph 95(1)(e)

Item 13: Paragraph 95(1)(e)

Item 14: Paragraph 95(1)(f)

Item 15: Paragraph 95(1)(f)

These items amend a group of offences dealing with contravention of conditions of fishing authorisations by adding scientific permits, fish receiver permits and port permits.  This will enable enforcement of the conditions associated with these types of permits.


Item 16: At the end of subsection 95(1)

This item is a new offence clause which will allow for greater penalties and forfeiture for misreporting or falsely recording information in relation to the taking of fish, sale or disposal of fish, carrying or transhipment of fish and processing of fish.  The provision of accurate information is essential for quota managed fisheries and for effective fisheries management.


Item 17: Saving provisions

This item is a saving provision to save the paragraphs 95(1)(d,e,f), as if the amendments had not been made, for the purposes of any enforcement proceedings initiated but not concluded.


Item 18: At the end of section 98

This item adds further clauses to a section dealing with court orders following conviction.  The proposed amendment is to allow the court to determine the time of commencement of the period(s) that a person not be on a boat engaged in fishing, or for that person’s fishing concession be suspended.  It will also allow for exclusion of periods of time from counting towards the period ordered by the court.  Such additions to this section allow for an effective sanction of an operator in a fishery which may have closed seasons.


Item 19: At the end of subsection 101(1)

Item 20: At the end of subsection 101A(4)

These items add the holding of a scientific permit to the authorisations that may be held so that offences associated with having a foreign boat equipped with fishing equipment in the AFZ do not apply.


Item 21: Subsection 102(6) (definition of foreign fishing boat )

This item repeals and replaces the definition of a foreign fishing boat as it applies in this section to allow regulation of port access by a foreign boat which is either equipped for fishing or being used, or is intended to be used, to support fishing. 


This item is associated with the proposed amendments in Item 11.


Item 22: Subsection 106(1)

Item 23: After subsection 106(2)

These items add new clauses that provide for forfeiture of the boat, fishing gear, catch or proceeds of sale of this catch for offences which relate to the provision of false and misleading information to the AFMA.  Accurate data is essential for quota monitoring and for management of fisheries.


Item 24: Paragraph168(2)(a)

This item increases the maximum penalty that may be prescribed by regulations from 10 penalty units to 25 penalty units (currently $2,750) consistent with penalties for similar offences under the Fisheries Management Act and recognising the character of many matters covered by the regulations.

Item 25: Paragraph 168(2)(i)

This item adds section 95 offences to those for which penalty infringement notices may be issued.  This provides flexibility by allowing an alternative to prosecution for minor transgressions.


Item 26: Paragraph 168(2)(r)

This item substitutes the term persons for officer to enable Regulations to be made for observers, which are not prescribed officers, to be carried on board fishing boats.