Fishers surrender 130 licences as part of reform

Fishers surrender 130 licences as part of reform

A total of 130 commercial fishing licence surrenders have been received by the state government in the first step of $24.5-million reform of the Marine Scalefish Fishery (MSF).

The fishery reform is aimed at creating a sustainable and viable future for fishers across the state.

The deadline to submit applications was Friday, November 13, with 15 proposals received to surrender net licences and 115 to surrender line licences.

The 130 licence surrenders were submitted from across the state, including 66 from Spencer Gulf licence holders, 35 licence proposals from Gulf St Vincent licence holders, 25 from the West Coast zone and a further four from South East licence holders.

The first licence surrender came in from Streaky Bay's John Haycraft in June, who left the fishery after 43 years.

Primary Industries Minister David Basham said the licence surrender program was an important part of the reform process.

He said he was pleased with the number of applications received.

"We budgeted for up to 150 voluntary licence surrenders if licence holders wanted to go as part of our historic $24.5 million reform of the marine scalefish fishery and to receive 130 applications from right across South Australia is a strong result," he said.

"Currently there are too many fishers and not enough fish and the voluntary licence surrender program is the first step in our vitally important reform process.

"It has been a challenging reform - for the fishers and their communities, but this reform was required to ensure we have profitable seafood businesses into the future, sustainable fish stocks and to give seafood consumers the confidence that if they buy seafood from South Australia, it is sustainable."

The licence surrender period was the only buyout opportunity for fishers as part of the reform to be introduced next year.

The MSF will be managed by individual quota, total allowable commercial catches and management zones from July 1, 2021.

For more information on the reform process visit pir.sa.gov.au/fishingreform.