News

First licence surrendered under commercial fishing reforms

Friday 26 June 2020

The first fishing licence has been formally surrendered as part of the Marshall Liberal Government's historic $24.5 million commercial fishing reforms.


The voluntary licence surrender program is a key part of the Marine Scalefish Fishery reform package to improve the sustainability of fish stocks and the profitability of seafood businesses.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the reform package funds the voluntary surrender of 150 licences to address the long-standing issue that there are too many fishers and not enough fish.

"The voluntary licence surrender program gives licence holders the opportunity for a dignified exit from the industry before the remaining reforms are implemented on 1 July 2021," said Minister Whetstone.

"Information on the proposed reforms, including proposed management zones and indicative total allowable commercial catch for priority species, are now available to assist fishers in their decision of whether they leave the fishery or stay and invest in the fishery.

"It is a first in-best dressed system and we've already had more than 30 commercial fishers apply to voluntarily surrender their licences.

"I want to remind fishers that this will be the only buy out opportunity. We are offering a fair market price and the offer will close on 13 November 2020, unless fully subscribed beforehand. If less than

150 licences are surrendered, the quota will be allocated amongst remaining fishers."

Streaky Bay licence holder John Haycraft is the first fisher to formally surrender his licence, after 43 years in the fishery.

"I've been fishing all my life, having started as a seven-year-old putting in a rod at the Streaky Bay jetty," said Mr Haycraft.

"I always wanted to be a fisherman and I was lucky enough to get my commercial licence just as I was leaving school."

Mr Haycraft said that although this year was shaping up to be a good fishing year having noticed more fish stocks than there has been for a long time; health issues and the voluntary licence surrender program prompted him to decide that now was the right time to leave the industry.

"I am still young, but the body is telling me that it is time to go," said Mr Haycraft.

"While I won't be doing too much this year as I concentrate on my health, there is a possibility that I'll be back on a boat as a deckhand next year. The lure of the sea never leaves you."

For more details on the proposed Marine Scalefish Fishery reform process and the voluntary licence surrender program visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/licence-surrender

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