Fishing history policy

1. Policy statement

This Policy has been developed to apply to any decision, consideration or other dealing with authorities where the fishing history of an authority is a relevant factor.

2. Background and context

This Policy has been developed to ensure that a consistent interpretation of fishing history is adopted across Fisheries Queensland.

3. Scope

This Policy applies to any decision, consideration or other dealing with authorities where the fishing history of an authority is a relevant factor. This Policy will not address allocation issues. Any issues concerning how fishing history should be used in an allocation context will be determined by legislation, sub-ordinate legislation (e.g. management plans), other policies or guidelines. This Policy is intended to provide guidance only and is not a substitute for, nor does it override, applicable legislation.

This Policy does not apply to resource allocation authorities (RAA) (1).

4. Definitions

"Act" means the Fisheries Act 1994.

"Authority" means a licence or authority, other than a resource allocation authority or quota, issued and in force under the Act. 

"Fishing history" may be defined as any catch (including quota and effort) taken under a prescribed commercial fishery symbol or authority, which is recorded and provided to Fisheries Queensland in accordance with fisheries legislation (2). However, catch or effort which is taken under a prescribed fishery symbol or authority may also be recorded on any other document other than logbooks as required by legislation or policy for the particular fishery.

"Fisheries Queensland" means the Queensland Government agency (currently part of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries) that, among other things, has responsibility for management of Queensland's fisheries.

"Person" generally refers to a corporation as well as to an individual (3).

"Transfer" in this document refers to transfer of an authority under the Act (4).

5. Policy provisions

5.1 How fishing history accrues to an authority

Fishing history is created when catch and effort taken under a prescribed commercial fishery symbol or authority is recorded in a commercial fishing logbook and provided to Fisheries Queensland in accordance with fisheries legislation and relevant policies. These records are maintained in Fisheries Queensland Commercial Fisheries Information System (CFISH), or in other databases.

It is recognised that persons may have an interest or involvement in one or a number of authorities, however, authorities are fishing access entitlements to which fishing history accrues. Therefore, fishing history will be retained with the authority, rather than with the fisher who may have worked the authority and initially created the history. Any benefits resulting from management decisions based on fishing history will accrue to the authority. This also takes account of the fact that, in Queensland, the amount of fishing history an authority acquires usually contributes to its market price.

Similarly, where an authority is endorsed with fishery symbols, fishing history created in a particular fishery accrues to the relevant symbol rather than to the fisher who may have fished under the symbol and initially created the history. In general, an authority will only benefit from the history accrued to its attached symbols while those symbols are attached to the authority.

5.2 Fishing history, transfers and symbol movements

Given that fishing history is linked to an authority as opposed to a person, a person will ordinarily have no claim to the fishing history of an authority formerly held in their name, once it has been transferred to another person. 

Persons can also apply to move fishery symbols between licences via a symbol movement application. When a fishery symbol is moved from one licence (1st licence) to another (2nd licence), the fishing history accumulated by the symbol will stay with the 1st licence.

5.2.1 Temporary Transfer

A transfer of an authority may be for a stated period (temporary transfer) (5).  Where an authority is the subject of a temporary transfer and history is created by a fisher working under the authority, that fisher has no claim to the history created. The fishing history will vest with the authority. 

Fishery symbols cannot be subject to temporary transfer. 

5.3 Surrenders

The holder of an authority may surrender it by giving notice of the surrender to the chief executive (6).

When an authority holder surrenders an authority they relinquish the right to hold the authority and by virtue of that relinquishment, any history on the authority will ordinarily no longer be available for the use or benefit of the surrendered authority, the authority holder, or any other person.

5.4 Fishing history

5.4.1 Authority amalgamation

Where two or more authorities are approved for amalgamation into one authority, the fishing history acquired under those individual authorities will remain with the individual authorities. In the example below, licences FZZZ and FYYY (with fishery symbols shown below) are being amalgamated:

            FZZZ             +    FYYY            #     FZZZ   (FYYY surrendered)
            N1 C1 N6           T1 L1 L3                N1 C1 T1 L1 L3 N6

Where an authority is left without at least one fishery symbol attached to it, whether it is due to authority amalgamation (as for FYYY in the example above) or to movement of fishery symbols to another authority, the authority holder may surrender the authority and associated fishing history (FYYY) will be removed.

5.4.2 Acquisition of fishery symbols

Transferring symbols from one authority to another is permitted, however the accrued history will stay with the authority which fishing history was accumulated on. In the example below, catch history accrued to the T1 symbol on FUZY is being retained in the total catch history of FUZY and T1 symbol is transferred to FYZY without the history via licence amendment. Units of history (e.g. tonnes of catch) are shown as numbers written in brackets beside the fishery symbols.

Before amendment
FUZY                                                           FYZY
T1(4), N3(2)                                                 L1(3), N1(2), C1(3)
Total catch history of 6 tonnes                        Total catch history of 8 tonnes

For FUZY T1 symbol to be transferred to FYZY, the T1 (4 tonnes of catch history) will be retained by FUZY and FYZY T1 symbol would have zero catch history unless the FYZY authority has prior T1 catch history.

After amendment
FUZY                                                           FYZY
N3(2) + (4)                                                   T1(0), L1(3), N1(2), C1(3)
Total catch history of 6 tonnes                        Total catch history of 8 tonnes

It should be noted that multiple identical fishery symbols can not be written on an authority unless special circumstances exist (7).

5.5 Investment warnings

Fisheries Queensland may, from time to time, issue an investment warning for a fishery when a reference date is required for determining future resource allocations based on fishing history, in the interest of fair access to resources (8). Therefore, when making investment decisions based on fishing history (such as an authority transfer or acquisition of a fishery symbol), it is advised that interested persons first investigate relevant investment warnings and the effective dates in relation to the fishing history in question.

6. Responsibilities and accountabilities

This Policy is to be applied by delegated Fisheries Queensland officers.

7. Source documentation

Fisheries Act 1994
Fisheries Regulation 2008
Fisheries Management Plans

8. Related documents

This policy applies generally and is to be read and applied in conjunction with all other relevant policies of Fisheries Queensland.

9. Footnotes

  1. Refer to section 76B of the Act
  2. Refer to section 118 of the Act
  3. Refer to section 32D of the Acts Interpretation Act 1954
  4. Refer to sections 65, 65A and 65B of the Act
  5. Refer to section 65C of the Act
  6. Refer to section 72 of the Act
  7. Refer Section 252 of the Fisheries Regulation 2008
  8. Refer to Fisheries Queensland Policy and Procedures for Investment and Increased Fishing Effort Warnings