Overview and Aims

The aim of the Fisheries Program 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 program aims are to:

  • 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.

Regional Goal

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

Regional Issues

  • There are relatively low levels of commercial utilisation of the fisheries resources by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people of the region. In 2012, the recorded Tropical Rock Lobster catch by Traditional Inhabitant Boat (TIB) license holders was 188 tonnes. The nominal total allowable catch for TIB licence holders was 348 tonnes. As there is no requirement for TIB licence holders to record Finfish catches, no reliable base line data exists for this sector.
  • Most Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal commercial fishers participate in the fishery on a casual basis. There are significant opportunities for fishers and communities to develop more professional scale operations, which will increase incomes and economic opportunities in communities. Consistent supply of product will help marketing efforts.
  • There is limited onshore infrastructure to support small-scale fishing operations.
  • The majority share of the tropical rock lobster fishery and the entire finfish fishery is allocated to Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people of the region. This offers Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people access to significant employment and wealth outcomes.
  • Management of Torres Strait fisheries is subject to complex management arrangements through the Torres Strait Protected Zone Joint Authority (PZJA) and Torres Strait Treaty.
  • The PZJA is making changes to the management structure for some fisheries, in particular, the Tropical Rock Lobster Fishery. The implementation of output controls will be a significant change for fishers and communities.
  • The Native Title Sea Claim Part A determination has potential to generate economic development opportunities for Traditional Owners in the region to utilise new commercial rights.

Program Outcomes

  • [FI-1] A commercially viable fishing industry which is 100 per cent owned by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people.
  • [FI-2] Improved wealth of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people of the region.
  • [FI-3] Sustainable management of fisheries resources.

Benefits

2014 – 2018

  • Opportunity for increased employment and wealth of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people from the region’s commercial fisheries resources.
  • Increased revenue derived from fishing industry by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people.

Future Development Plans

  • Opportunity for increased employment and wealth of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people from 100 per cent of the region’s commercial fisheries resources.
  • Sustainably managed fisheries provide opportunities for traditional, recreational and commercial harvest by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people.

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.

Projects and Initiatives

The Fisheries Program has a mandate from the TSRA Board to undertake the following projects and initiatives:

  • engaging in the PZJA and supporting engagement of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people in PZJA decision-making
  • providing opportunities to develop the capability and capacity of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people to benefit from fisheries in the region
  • assisting communities to engage in program activities
  • managing access to fisheries resources held in trust for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people of the region.

Contribution to the Closing the Gap Targets

The Fisheries Program will contribute towards the achievement of the following Closing the Gap targets:

  • Target #1: close the gap in life expectancy within a generation
  • Target #6: halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade.

Contribution to COAG National Partnership Agreement Indigenous-specific Outcomes

The Fisheries Program will contribute to the following National Partnership Agreement Indigenous-specific outcomes:

  • The Indigenous working age population has the depth and breadth of skills and capabilities required for the 21st century labour market.
  • Indigenous people of working age participate effectively in all sectors and at all levels of the labour market.

Annex B-1 Program Map – Fisheries

A chart illustrating Program Map - Fisheries

Annex B-2 Fisheries Program – Overview

Annex B-2 Fisheries Program – Overview

Overview and aims Outcomes Benefits Performance measures Initiatives
The program will increase wealth in the region through commercially viable businesses and employment in the fishing industry, while ensuring the ecologically sustainable management of fisher y resources.
The program aims are to:
  • 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 industr y 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.
  • [FI-1] A commercially viable fishing industr y which is 100 per cent owned by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people.
  • [FI-2] Improved wealth of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people of the region.
  • [FI-3] Sustainable management of fisheries resources.
2014 – 2018
  • Opportunity for increased employment and wealth of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people from the region’s commercial fisheries resources.
  • Increased revenue derived from fishing industry by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people.

Future Development Plans
  • Opportunity for increased employment and wealth of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people from 100% of the region’s commercial fisheries resources.
  • Sustainably managed fisheries provide opportunities for traditional, recreational and commercial har vest by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people.
  • 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.
The Fisheries Program has a mandate to undertake the following initiatives:
  • engaging in the Protected Zone Joint Authority (PZJA) and supporting the engagement of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people in PZJA decision- making
  • providing opportunities to develop the capability and capacity of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people to benefit from fisheries in the region
  • assisting communities to engage in program activities
  • managing access to fisheries resources held in trust for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people of the region.

Annex B-3 Fisheries Program – Benefits

Annex B-3 Fisheries Program – Benefits

BenefitsPerformance measuresTargetsTarget groups
Opportunity for increased employment and wealth of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people from the region’s commercial fisheries resources. Number of opportunities for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people to increase their understanding and use of Torres Strait fisheries resources. Eleven fisheries-related meetings held each year.
Four fisheries-related communication products released each year.
Eighty percent of participants successfully complete the Torres Strait Marine Pathways Project courses in each year the course is offered.
Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal fishers; people and communities.
Increased revenue derived from fishing industry by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal people. Increase in catches by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal fishers relative to total allowable catch. Sales to processors by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal fishers in the region increase by ten percent per year over the life of the plan. Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal fishers; people and communities.