Electronic and Vessel Monitoring Systems Assistance Program
Requirement for vessel monitoring systems in Australian Marine Parks
The Director of National Parks intends to require all commercial fishing vessels transiting or operating in Australian Marine Parks to carry a vessel monitoring system from mid-2024.
Introducing a vessel monitoring requirement will help fishers understand and comply with marine park rules and protect park values.
Further information about this change and the use of electronic and vessel monitoring systems in Australian Marine Parks can be found at Electronic and Vessel Monitoring Systems in Australian Marine Parks - Frequently Asked Questions.
The Director released a Consultation Paper in February 2023 and invited feedback from the commercial fishing industry on the vessel monitoring requirement. The formal consultation period closed on 26 May 2023 and the Director is currently considering the comments received.
Vessel monitoring systems assistance
The Electronic and Vessel Monitoring Systems Assistance Program is providing $5.5 million grant funding through state and Northern Territory fisheries management agencies to support initiatives that increase the uptake of electronic and vessel monitoring systems by commercial fishers who operate in or transit in Australian Marine Parks.
The program will help fishers to comply with marine park rules. We look forward to working together with state and Northern Territory fisheries management agencies and engaging with commercial fishers during implementation.
The Assistance Program is funding the following projects:
New South Wales - $1,865,000 Department of Primary Industries
This project will support the introduction of two-way vessel monitoring systems to New South Wales (NSW) commercial fishing vessels that may transit or operate in an Australian Marine Park.
The project will involve working with NSW commercial fishers and supporting the installation of up to 450 new vessel monitoring system (VMS) units with two years of airtime.
NSW Department of Primary Industries will complete the project following the successful implementation of the Parks Australia legislative amendments making VMS mandatory for those vessels.
Northern Territory - $103,810 Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade
This funding will provide opportunity for vessels in the NT Spanish Mackerel Fishery and vessels with grandfathered Inmarsat C systems, which transit and operate in Australian Marine Parks, to procure e-monitoring ready two-way vessel monitoring systems by the end of the 2022-23 financial year.
To support the uptake and provide an understanding of why VMS is required in Australian Marine Parks, the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade, Parks Australia and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority will host an information session with key stakeholders.
Queensland - $552,500 Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has vessel monitoring systems on approximately 1700 of its commercial fishing vessels. This project aims to develop a system to provide automatic notifications to commercial fishers to help them comply with zoning rules in Australian Marine Parks.
The project will also fund an e-monitoring field trial on vessels that are known to traverse Australian Marine Parks. This field trial will assist in understanding the ability of e-monitoring equipment to detect interactions with protected species and other non-target catch during commercial fishing activities.
South Australia - $1,279,240 Department of Primary Industries and Regions
This project, delivered through the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, aims to install new and upgrade existing vessel monitoring system units to those fisheries whose reportable fishing grounds intersect Australian Marine Parks.
South Australia’s Department of Primary Industries and Regions will engage with commercial fishers throughout the implementation process, as well as investigate other forms of e-monitoring to assist in the management of interactions with Threatened and Endangered Species.
Tasmania - $475,000 Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania
This project will complement a significant vessel monitoring system project underway in the Rock Lobster Fishery. It will invest in stakeholder consultation, airtime and customisation of software systems available through the National Vessel Monitoring Systems Program to support Tasmania’s vessel monitoring systems program.
Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania will also upgrade 34 existing vessel monitoring systems across a number of fisheries to two-way monitoring. This will enable commercial fishers to utilise the Australian Marine Parks alert service, supporting increased compliance in our Australian Marine Parks.
Victoria - $97,790 Victorian Fisheries Authority
As Victorian fisheries already have a near universal vessel monitoring coverage, this project aims to enhance the commercial fishing industry’s uptake of e-monitoring system.
The project will fund a trial of e-monitoring in one of Victoria’s fisheries that operates within two Australian Marine Parks. The fishery is data poor and operates in a highly remote area. The trial of e-monitoring will improve knowledge of commercial fishing operations within the marine parks and further improve compliance information.
Western Australia - $1,126,660 Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
Western Australia’s Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) will run a project to introduce or upgrade approximately 190 two-way vessel monitoring systems in a number of fisheries, significantly increasing vessel monitoring system coverage in the region. The project will also include additional monitoring equipment for commercial fishing vessels in three fisheries to further inform fishing operations. Airtime for new units will be funded for two years.
DPIRD and Parks Australia will continue to engage with industry regarding the project implementation.
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