Limited entry policy
1. Policy Statement
This policy has been developed to give effect to the main purpose of the Fisheries Act 1994 ("the Act"), by guiding the chief executive and delegates in making decisions about access to fisheries to which this policy applies.
2. Background And Context
Evidence that catch rates of some target species are declining despite improved technology and increased fishing effort has prompted evaluation and revision of the management arrangements for many Queensland fisheries. In Queensland's commercial fisheries, sustainability has been achieved as the result of well defined management arrangements. However, access to some commercial fisheries is not governed by a management plan or equivalent management arrangement. In such fisheries, a policy of ordinarily prohibiting the issue of new authorities is necessary to prevent ecosystem effects that may result from fishing activities.
This policy seeks to achieve the main purpose of the Fisheries Act 1994 by providing for the use, conservation and enhancement of Queensland's fisheries resources in a way that applies, balances and promotes the principles of ecologically sustainable development (ESD), this is stated in Section 3 of the Act as:
Particular purposes of Act
- The main purpose of this Act is to provide for the use, conservation and enhancement of the community's fisheries resources and fish habitats in a way that seeks to -
- apply and balance the principles of ecologically sustainable development; and
- promote ecologically sustainable development.
- In balancing the principles, each principle is to be given the relative emphasis appropriate in the circumstances.
- Despite the main purpose of this Act, a further purpose of this Act is to reduce the possibility of shark attacks on humans in coastal waters of the State adjacent to coastal beaches used for bathing.
- Subsections (1) and (3) do not limit the purposes of this Act.
- In this section -
Ecologically sustainable development means using, conserving and enhancing the community's fisheries resources and fish habitats so that-
a. the ecological processes on which life depends are maintained; and
b. the total quality of life, both now and in the future, can be improved.
Precautionary principle means the principle that, if there is a threat of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of scientific certainty should not be used as a reason to postpone measures to prevent environment degradation, or possible environmental degradation, because of the threat.
Principles of ecologically sustainable development means the following principles -
- enhancing individual and community wellbeing through economic development that safeguards the wellbeing of future generations;
- providing fairness within and between generations;
- protecting biological diversity, ecological processes and life support systems;
- in making decisions, effectively integrating fairness and short and long term economic, environmental and social considerations;
- considering the global dimension of environmental impacts of actions and policies;
- considering the need to maintain and enhance competition, in an environmentally sound way;
- considering the need to develop a strong, growing and diversified economy that can enhance the capacity for environmental protection;
- that decisions and actions should provide for broad community involvement on issues affecting them
- the precautionary principle.
This policy takes into account the following factors:
- Fisheries Queensland considers that the fisheries to which this policy applies are fully utilised. Limiting fishing capacity to the current number of authorities applies the precautionary principle, namely that lack of scientific certainty about the capacity of fisheries resources to sustain additional fishing pressure should not be used as a reason to delay measures to prevent over fishing.
- There is a need to enhance individual and community well being through economic development that safeguards the wellbeing of future generations, and to provide fairness within and between generations. For those commercial fisheries to which this policy applies, it is desirable that the number of available authorities for access be limited to the current number.
- Queensland´s commercial fish species contribute to the biodiversity of the world's oceans, and form part of larger ecosystems. Limiting access ensures that the impact of fishing activities on biological diversity, ecological processes and life support systems are minimised in those fisheries to which this policy applies.
- Fairness needs to be integrated with short and long term economic, environmental and social considerations in making decisions. Fairness is accorded in the short term to current generations by allowing access to fisheries resources and enhanced economic development under existing authorities; while the long term economic, environmental and social sustainability of resource use is maintained by limiting fishing pressure.
- Current resource sharing arrangements are considered to provide fair access to the commercial, recreational and indigenous fishing sectors. For those fisheries to which this policy applies, allowing additional commercial access may have fairness implications for the other fishing sectors, and is therefore not considered to be in keeping with achievement of the Act´s objectives.
- Scope for competition and a strong, diversified economy needs to be balanced against environmental protection. The environmental impacts associated with existing authorities are considered sustainable, and entry into Queensland's commercial fisheries will continue to be available through purchase and transfer of existing authorities. However, issue of additional authorities for access to the fisheries to which this policy applies may undermine the sustainability objectives of the Act.
This policy applies to decisions made under the Act or Regulation about access, by way of an authority, to commercial fisheries for which no provision in a management plan (or equivalent arrangement) currently exists to prohibit issue of new authorities.
This policy does not apply to permits, or to access to fisheries resources obtained through the issue of a permit. Issue of permits is governed by legislation and is subject to relevant Fisheries Queensland policies .
This policy does not apply to the issue or amendment of a replacement authority, such as in the circumstance where a replacement boat is being licensed subject to any applicable policy guidelines.
"access" to a fishery means that obtained through the issue of the above authorities, and/or through fishery symbol endorsements attached to these authorities.
"Act" means the Fisheries Act 1994.
"authorities" means commercial fishing boat licences and commercial harvest fishery licences issued under the Act.
"commercial fishery" has the meaning given to it in Section 15 of the Regulation.
"ESD" means ecologically sustainable development.
"Fisheries Queensland" means the Queensland Government department that, among other things, has responsibility for management of Queensland´s fisheries.
"Regulation" refers to the Fisheries Regulation 2008.
5. Key Principles
5.1. Principle 1: Limted entry
Access to all commercial fisheries is restricted by the Fisheries Regulation 2008 to the holders of authorities endorsed with a commercial fishery symbol.
For those commercial fisheries for which no provision in a management plan (or equivalent management arrangement) currently exists to prohibit issue of new authorities, no new authorities will ordinarily be issued and no existing authorities will be endorsed with additional fisheries symbols.
Entry to the commercial fishing sector by new operators will ordinarily only be available via purchase and transfer of an existing authority. Existing fishery symbols may be moved between authorities as per the established symbol movement application process.
This policy applies even if the number of authorities endorsed for a particular commercial fishery is reduced below the number that existed as at the date of commencement of this policy.
An exception to this policy would be where an applicant for a new authority, or for endorsement of an existing authority with a new symbol/s, can show that there are special circumstances applying such that the chief executive or his delegate should depart from the provisions of this policy in deciding the application. In any decision of this nature, regard must be had to the objectives of the Act; particularly regarding the principles of ESD, as in Principle 2.
5.2. Principle 2: Ecological sustainable development in decision making
In applying this policy, consideration must always be given to the principles of ESD as set out in Section 3 of the Act. This policy is intended to reflect these principles, and if applied appropriately, ought to result in decisions that constitute a balanced application of the principles and that promote ESD in the relevant fishery.
Decision makers are required to use the relevant circumstances, facts and merits ("relevant considerations") of a case to weight (balance) each principle of ESD before applying the principles to arrive at a decision which ultimately promotes ESD. The principles of ESD have not been appropriately applied and balanced unless ALL relevant considerations have been taken into account. Therefore, this policy should not be applied to the extent that other relevant considerations cannot be properly taken into account.
6. Responsibilities And Accountabilities
This policy is to be applied by chief executive and delegates of Fisheries Queensland.
7. Source Documentation
Fisheries Act 1994
Fisheries Regulation 2008
8. Related DocumentsThis policy applies generally and is to be read and applied in conjunction with all other relevant policies of Fisheries Queensland.
- Refer to section 55 of the Act, Chapter 5, Part 2, Division 1 of the Regulation, and Sections 204 and 205 of the Regulation.
- Refer to the Policy for the management of developmental fishing, the Permits procedural guide and the Policy on the issue of indigenous fishing permits.
- See the Fisheries Act 1994 section 65 (Transfer of authority other than permit); 65A (Application to register transfer of authority) and 65B (Registration of transfer of authority).