A significant boost of $30.5 million of operating funding over the next four years in Budget 2017 will upgrade and modernise the fisheries management system, including the roll-out of cameras, monitoring, and electronic reporting on all commercial vessels, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.
“This funding will help introduce the world-leading Integrated Electronic Monitoring and Reporting System (IEMRS), which will give us arguably the most transparent and accountable commercial fishery anywhere in the world,” Mr Guy says.
Vessel position monitoring and electronic catch reporting will begin on 1 October this year. This will be followed by cameras on every vessel phased in from 1 October next year. This means that every fishing vessel can be monitored at all times, no matter where they are, and any illegal activity dealt with.
“This ‘Future of Fisheries’ funding will also allow fine-scale management of fish stocks, using the better information provided by the IEMRS system to focus on smaller geographic areas so that more precise and effective management decisions can be made. For example, this could look at specific bays of concern,” Mr Guy says.
“The new investment will also support more detailed scientific research to improve our knowledge of the marine environment, enabling management of fish stocks as well as the ecosystems that support them.
“New approaches will also develop new information about the state of our fisheries using biological indicators of stock status. This is a key focus of the Future of Fisheries.
“While the commercial industry will be paying to have the cameras and other new technology on their vessels, the new fisheries management system will also be partly funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries,” Mr Guy says.
“Our fisheries management has long been recognised as world-leading, but we now need to invest in the latest technologies so we can stay world-leading in the high quality management of our fisheries.”