Fisheries

News & Resources

Regional Goal

Enhance our region’s wealth, by managing and maintaining sustainable fishing industries and increasing employment and economic opportunities for our people.

Programme Goal

The Fisheries Programme goal is:

  • to increase wealth in the region through commercially viable businesses and employment in the fishing industry, while ensuring the ecologically sustainable management of fishery resources.

The Fisheries Programme goal is to increase wealth in the region through commercially viable businesses and employment in the fishing industry, while ensuring the ecologically sustainable management of fishery resources.

Programme Objectives

The Fisheries Programme component will:

  • provide greater access for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people to the region’s commercial fisheries towards attaining a 100% share
  • increase commercially viable businesses in the fishing industry that are Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal owned and/or operated
  • deliver initiatives to increase capability and capacity of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people to utilise the region’s commercial fisheries resources
  • ensure that the region’s fisheries resources are sustainably managed
  • ensure that Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people are engaged in the management of the region’s fisheries resources.

Programme Deliverables

  • A commercially viable fishing industry which is 100 per cent owned by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people.
  • Improved wealth of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people of the region.
  • Sustainable management of fisheries resources.

Programme Expenditure 2014 - 2015

Table 2-17: Fisheries Programme Expenditure, 2014 - 2015 (unaudited)

Budget
$’000
Actual
$’000
Variance
$’000
4,546 4,550 (4)

Torres Strait Development Plan Outcomes

  • A commercially viable fishing industry which is 100 per cent owned by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people.
  • Improved wealth of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people of the region.
  • Sustainable management of fisheries resources.

Programme Performance

Activity Flag Status
Fisheries communications a yellow circle This year the TSRA Fisheries Programme published a brochure depicting the history of commercial fishing in the Torres Strait from 1860 to the present. A fisheries newsletter was distributed in print and by email. These products facilitate communication and engagement with Torres Strait communities on the culture of fishing in the region and fisheries capacity building and management.
Finfish capacity building a gray circle Capacity-building projects were delayed at the beginning of the financial year due to the need to clarify stakeholders’ roles and expectations. This status will be addressed in 2015 - 2016.
Finfish quota management a yellow circle On behalf of traditional inhabitants, each year since 2008 the TSRA has leased finfish fishery licences to non-traditional inhabitant fishers. The Fisheries Programme has provided administrative support to the TSRA Board and Finfish Quota Management Committee to facilitate leasing processes. The aim of leasing licences is to maintain markets until the Traditional Inhabitant Boat (TIB) licence sector can increase its catch. In 2015, for the first time the Fisheries Programme facilitated a meeting of the Finfish Quota Management Committee at Masig (an outer island in the Torres Strait). The open section of the meeting enabled a large range of community stakeholders to participate in discussions related to the management of the fishery.The Fisheries Programme is running a project to develop an action plan for the Torres Strait finfish fishery. The plan will detail actions to increase the commercial participation and productivity of the TIB sector in the fishery and will help to guide the investment of funds.
Fisheries roadmap – towards 100 per cent ownership a gray circle The TSRA has the lead on behalf of the Protected Zone Joint Authority (PZJA) for the development of the Fisheries Roadmap towards 100 per cent ownership of the commercial fisheries by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal Traditional Owners. Extensive community engagement with a large number of stakeholders is needed for this vital project. Consultation is expected to be completed in 2015 - 2016.
Fisheries management framework a yellow circle The key output for 2014 - 2015 was a draft management framework. The completed framework is scheduled for release in 2015 - 2016.The TSRA Fisheries Programme is leading a project that will inform community leaders and fisheries stakeholders on the New Zealand Maori model of fisheries ownership and management. The project will examine how aspects of the model could be effectively implemented in the Torres Strait.
Pathway into fishing a yellow circle The TSRA Fisheries Programme is developing a series of training workshops on effective representation and principles of fisheries management. These workshops will target new representatives at PZJA forums as well as other interested persons in the community.This activity has two training components:
  • Effective Representation – 13 fishers completed training in 2014 - 2015.
  • Principles of Fisheries Management – this is a new course under development through the University of Wollongong for delivery in 2015 - 2016.
PZJA representation a yellow circle Between July 2009 and June 2015, the TSRA supported Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people to contribute fisher and community perspectives to 53 PZJA forums, including working group and advisory committee meetings.In March 2015, the TSRA Board agreed that Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people have demonstrated a well-developed capacity to represent their fishing sector at these forums and therefore attendance could be administered by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority in the same way as other fishing sectors’ attendance is managed.The TSRA will continue to fund Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal representation and provide representatives with capacity-building training related to fisheries management and governance and member roles and responsibilities.
Legend
an open circle
Not yet started
a yellow circle
Completed / On schedule
a gray circle
Behind schedule less than three months
a black circle
Behind schedule more than three months

Additional Programme Specific Performance Indicators

Indicator Flag Status
Increase in catches by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal fishers relative to total allowable catch a gray circle Catch reporting by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal fishers in the Torres Strait is not mandatory, therefore measuring increased catch is not yet possible. However, the TSRA delivers a number of initiatives aimed at increasing participation in fisheries, including the development of an action plan for the finfish fishery to guide investment of funds raised through the leasing of licences in the fishery.
Number of opportunities for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people to increase their understanding and use of Torres Strait fisheries resources a yellow circle This indicator is being met through the pathway into fishing training activities outlined above. In 2014 - 2015, 13 fishers participated in the training.
Legend
an open circle
Not yet started
a yellow circle
KPI achieved
a gray circle
KPI partially achieved
a black circle
KPI not achieved

a photograph of Beche-de-mer fisher

Bêche-de-mer fisher.

PERFORMANCE MEASURES

  • Number of opportunities for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people to increase their understanding and use of Torres Strait fisheries resources.
  • Increase in catches by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal fishers relative to total allowable catch.

Figure 2-4: Fisheries Programme Map

Figure 2-4: Fisheries Programme Map

Figure 2-5: Torres Strait Bêche-de-Mer Fishery

Figure 2-5: Torres Strait Bêche-de-Mer Fishery

Refer to Beche De Mer Fishery case study on page 58.

Case Study: Bêche-de-Mer Fishery 100 per cent owned by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal People

The Torres Strait Regional Authority was pleased to announce in February 2015 that it had purchased the last non-Indigenous commercial fishing licence in the Torres Strait bêche-de-mer fishery. The purchase was part of the ongoing commitment by the TSRA to assist Torres Strait communities develop a commercially viable fishing industry that is 100 per cent owned by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people.

The bêche-de-mer fishery is the second fishery to be 100 per cent owned by Torres Strait and Aboriginal people. The first, the Torres Strait finfish fishery, which became 100 per cent owned in 2007, is now an important commercial asset to Torres Strait communities. The TSRA expects that over time the bêche-de-mer licence will generate significant benefits to the people of the Torres Strait.

The TSRA Chairperson Mr Joseph Elu worked closely with the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion, to secure the transfer of the licence. This important outcome will allow greater access to the fishery by Indigenous fishers in the region and provide economic benefits to Torres Strait communities.

The Torres Strait Regional Authority was pleased to announce in February 2015 that it had purchased the last non-Indigenous commercial fishing licencein the Torres Strait bêche-de-mer fishery.

The purchase of the licence took place shortly after the re-opening of the bêche-de-mer fishery to the take of black teatfish in November 2014. The 15 tonne total allowable catch of the black teatfish was taken in only two and a half weeks – a demonstration of the Torres Strait communities’ commitment to developing a productive commercial fishing industry in the region.

The TSRA will now work with its partners in the Protected Zone Joint Authority to develop a strategy for the future use of the licence for the benefit of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people.

a photograph of a Bêche-de-mer fisher

Bêche-de-mer fisher.