Why are the regulations being remade?

In Victoria, regulations expire every ten years. This means the Fisheries Regulations will cease to exist unless action is taken to remake that law.


What is the process for making changes?

Over the last 18 months, we've been working with the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) to review the existing regulations, in consultation with key stakeholders. Together, we've developed a revised set of regulations, the proposed Fisheries Regulations 2019, which have now been released for public comment.

A Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) has been prepared to explain the proposed regulations and their anticipated impacts. 

The community is invited to participate in the 34-day public consultation process by sending through their submissions. 

After submissions on the RIS have been considered and any required changes made, a final version of the regulations is produced and provided to the Minister for Fishing and Boating for approval. The revised regulations will commence on 1 February 2020.


What are the benefits to the community?

The proposed regulations will ensure continuation of recreational and commercial fishing and aquaculture production in Victoria and will support indigenous access to fish resources. 

They are designed to ensure sustainable, effective and efficient management of the State’s fish resources for the next ten years.


What is proposed to change for the draft regulations?

The regulations are staying largely the same as they are now, but have been revised to make it easier to understand and find the information you're looking for. There are some important changes proposed, and fact sheets have been prepared which summarise each of these changes relevant to the recreational fishingcommercial fishing and aquaculture sectors. 

There are also several minor changes to the drafting of the regulations which are technical in nature and will not have any affect on stakeholders.


Is there still a need for regulation?

Over the past 18 months, we have worked with the VFA to review the effectiveness of the current regulations and determine that the fundamental need for the regulations still exists. Regulations are required to:

  • define fisheries and licence classes to enable recreational and commercial fishing and aquaculture to occur.
  • regulate fishing to ensure it's sustainable and does not have any long term impacts on fish resources or our ecosystems.
Without a robust regulatory framework, this objective will be compromised.


What’s the purpose of recreational fishing regulations?

Regulations are needed to define the class of licence (Recreational Fishing Licence) that people can obtain to authorise them to fish recreationally in Victoria (unless exempt). If these licences are not defined in the regulations, no recreational fishing could occur.


Where can I find more detail about the proposed regulation changes related to recreational fishing?

The Find Out More section of this site has a recreational fishing fact sheet which outlines the proposed changes to the Fisheries Regulations affecting recreational fishing.

What is a Recreational Fishing Licence

A Recreational Fishing Licence is a licence that authorises the take of fish for non-commercial purposes. 

There are no eligibility requirements on who may obtain a Recreational Fishing Licence, other than payment of the relevant price.

Are there any exemptions to holding a Recreational Fishing Licence?

Yes, the current regulations set out classes of people that are not required to obtain a licence in order to fish recreationally—these are persons of 70 years of age or older, Seniors Card holders, Commonwealth pension recipients, and carer’s payment recipients that hold concession cards. Persons under the age of 18 years old are also not required to obtain a licence. 

These exemptions will remain unchanged in the proposed regulations. 

Under the proposed regulations, persons who identify as aboriginal or torres strait islander will now be exempt.


The exemption from the need to hold an RFL does not exempt a person from complying with any regulations related to recreational fishing, including rules on equipment, catch limits, size limits or restricted areas. 



What changes are proposed for persons who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders?

The proposed changes will introduce an exemption for persons who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander from the need to purchase a Recreational Fishing Licence (for those not already exempt under Victoria’s Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 or the Commonwealth’s Native Title Act 1993).


What are the proposed changes to size and bag limits for recreational fishing?

There are a series of changes proposed for species such as river blackfish, Macquarie perch, sea urchin, goat fish and others. These are summarised in the recreational fishing fact sheet. Further details are also provided in the associated Regulatory Impact Statement.

What is the purpose of commercial fishing and aquaculture regulations?

For commercial fishing and aquaculture, regulations are needed to enable commercial fishing and aquaculture production to occur.

The regulations ensure that commercial fishing is sustainable and have long term impacts on fish resources or our ecosystems.

What changes are being proposed that are relevant to the commercial wild catch sector?

The proposed Fisheries Regulations 2019 are generally the same as the existing Fisheries Regulations 2009 for commercial fishers. However, there are some important changes proposed, including:

  • creation of three new commercial fishing licence classes (pipi, octopus and banded morwong)
  • increase the combined catch limit for gummy and school shark from 2 to 5 for specified fisheries
  • transition of some fisheries to electronic reporting of catch and effort and catch disposal information
  • expanding the use of Vessel Monitoring Systems to more commercial fisheries
  • introduction of a standardised fish receipt for fish sales and fish movement records.

All proposed changes are summarised in the commercial fishing fact sheet. Further details are also provided in the associated Regulatory Impact Statement.


What changes will be made to commercial fisheries reporting?

The proposed regulations will enable electronic reporting for specified commercial licence classes that will transition to an electronic system (known as the eCatch application). The Find Out More section of this site has a commercial fishing fact sheet which outlines the proposed changes to the Fisheries Regulations affecting commercial fishing. 

Where can I find more detail about the proposed regulation changes related to commercial fishing?

The Find Out More section of this site has a commercial fishing fact sheet which outlines the proposed changes to the Fisheries Regulations affecting commercial fishing.

What changes are being proposed that are relevant to the aquaculture sector?

The proposed Fisheries Regulations 2019 are largely the same as the existing Fisheries Regulations 2009 for aquaculture producers. However, there are some important changes proposed, including:

  • updating the information requirements included in an aquaculture production return (i.e. the average price obtained for each species sold during the return period will need to be provided and the requirement to provide the name of any relevant aquaculture fisheries reserve named on the licence has been removed)
  • introduction of a standardised fish receipts for fish sales and fish movement records.

More detail can be found via the Aquaculture factsheet.

Where can I find more detail about the proposed regulation changes related to the aquaculture sector?

The Find Out More section of this site has an aquaculture fact sheet which outlines the proposed changes to the Fisheries Regulations affecting the aquaculture sector.

What is a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS)?

A Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) is an analytical tool which guides policy development and decision-making, prepared by the Department in relation to the proposed regulations. It describes the issue that has given rise to a need for regulation and compares various possible options for dealing with that issue. An assessment of the costs and benefits of each option is included followed by a recommendation supporting the most effective and efficient option. The RIS has been approved by the Commissioner for Better Regulation and has now been released for public consultation. This is the opportunity for the community to comment on the proposed changes and for the government to respond. 

What did the review of the existing Fisheries Regulations 2009 include?

The review by the Department included an assessment of the regulatory burden of the current regulations and identification of ways to simplify the regulatory requirements, in particular making compliance obligations easier to understand and comply with. The department also worked closely with the VFA to review the current Regulations and develop the proposed Regulations.

Consultation which informed the proposed regulations was led by the VFA. The following commercial and recreational stakeholder representative groups were consulted:

  • Seafood Industry Victoria (SIV), 
  • VRFish (the Victorian recreational fishing peak body)
  • Game Fishing Association of Victoria (GFAV)
  • Native Fish Australia (NFA)
  • the Abalone Industry Committee
  • the Aquatic Strategic Advisory Committee.

The Department also consulted with other relevant government departments including: Department of Justice and Community Safety (on the proposed penalties), Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.

The review culminated in the development of the draft Fisheries Regulations 2019 and the release of a Regulatory Impact Statement which assesses the benefits and costs of the proposed regulations and possible alternatives.


Will people be able to read and comment on the proposed regulations?

Yes, we’re seeking community feedback on the proposed changes. The draft regulations are now available for public comment. The community has until 5pm on Tuesday, 29 October 2019 to provide feedback. All feedback will be considered by the Department of Transport in consultation with the Victorian Fisheries Authority, before a final version of the regulations is presented to the Minister for Fishing and Boating.

Are there any specific requirements for submissions?

Formal submissions can be made by attaching a word or PDF document on our website.

While there are no specific content requirements, we are interested to hear the public’s views on the following points (each of these are detailed in the recreational and commercial fact sheets).

Recreational fishing

  • proposed changes to recreational size and bag limits
  • other controls that may have a significant burden on the ability for people to fish recreationally (e.g. types of equipment that can be used).

Commercial fishing

  • new licence classes: Pipi Fishery Access Licence, Banded Morwong Fishery Access Licence and Octopus Fishery Access Licence
  • transition of some commercial fisheries to electronic reporting
  • expanded use of VMS for tracking certain commercial boats
  • new requirements relating to fish receipts and fish movement records.

Indigenous fishing

  • Do you have any other regulatory suggestions that could support persons who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander?

Aquaculture

  • updating the information requirements included in an aquaculture production return (i.e. the average price obtained for each species sold during the return period will need to be provided and the requirement to provide the name of any relevant aquaculture fisheries reserve named on the licence has been removed) 
  • introduction of a standardised fish receipts and fish movement records. 

When was the last review of the Fisheries Regulations?

The last major review of the regulations was undertaken in 2008 prior to the making of the current Fisheries Regulations which came into force in 2009.


When do the new regulations come into effect?

The current regulations will cease to have effect after 2 February 2020. The new regulations will come into effect on 1 February 2020.