Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Government outlines fishing industry assistance commitment

Media release
3 May 2011

Environment Minister, Tony Burke, today released the Gillard Government's policy of supporting commercial fishing operators and communities if they are affected by the establishment of new Commonwealth marine reserves.

The fisheries adjustment policy outlines the principles that the Government will apply in determining the forms of assistance available to industry and fishing-reliant communities following the establishment of a final network of Commonwealth marine reserves.

The Government has committed to the development of marine bioregional plans and new marine reserves in four identified regions across Australia to protect the nation's unique marine environment for future generations.

Mr Burke said the Government would work closely with industry to identify fair and reasonable assistance.

It would ensure individual businesses were supported where adjustment was needed and to ensure fish stocks outside reserves were maintained at sustainable levels to support industry.

"For generations Australians have understood the need to preserve precious areas on land as national parks. Our oceans contain many iconic, precious and fragile sites which deserve protection too," Mr Burke said.

"Australia has the third largest marine environment of any nation in the world. Almost 90 per cent of the marine species found in some parts of the south-west are not found anywhere else in the world - a third of the world's whale and dolphin species are found in this region.

"We know Australians need our oceans to be healthy if they are to keep providing us with fish to eat, a place to fish, provide sustainable tourism opportunities and a place for families to enjoy.

"That's why the Gillard Government is working with communities to establish a network of marine reserves to drive a sustainable future for our marine environment and to help ensure our oceans stay healthy and productive.

"This policy outlines the principles for providing assistance to the commercial fishing industry and fishing-dependent communities, as well as setting out how the need for assistance will be assessed on a case by case basis.

"The Government is committed to working with industry to minimise any adverse impacts from the establishment of these marine reserves and to supporting them through any adjustment that is required."

The Government's fisheries adjustment policy is consistent with the Commonwealth's Marine Protected Areas and Displaced Fisheries Policy released in 2004.

The Government will use data such as fisheries catch records and other industry information to determine appropriate forms of assistance.

Following extensive consultation with industry and communities, a draft bioregional plan and marine reserve network for Australia's south-west will be released shortly and be followed by a further three month consultation period.

Draft bioregional plans and draft marine reserves plans for the north, north-west and east regions are being developed and will be rolled out this year, also followed by a period of three month community consultation. A final network of marine reserves is expected to be established in 2012.

For further details and information about the Fisheries Adjustment Policy visit