Fisheries industry fact sheet
This fact sheet provides an overview of the legal, operational and business issues relevant to the fisheries industry. It includes, fishing, hunting and trapping businesses as well as aquaculture businesses.
As well as the information in this fact sheet, you should check our general business information for additional regulations and obligations relevant to your business. For further advice and assistance, contact your accountant, solicitor or business adviser.
The following links refer to detailed information on the fisheries industry which is also summarised on this page below the links.
- Key legislation & initiatives
- Licences & permits
- Finance & tax
- Levies & charges
- Workplace Health & Safety (WHS)
- Intellectual Property (IP)
- Industry training
- Key government organisations & websites
- Key advisers
- Industry groups
- Useful information
Industry research is an important part of planning for your business. It may uncover economic and industry trends, establish or improve your business and help you keep pace with your industry.
Key government sources for industry specific statistics on the fisheries industry include:
- Fisheries Research & Development Corporation (FRDC) – The FRDC provides a vast range of fisheries specific publications on their Knowledge section.
- Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) – For fisheries specific statistics visit ABARES.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) – ABS also provides specific statistics on the Fisheries section.
Legislation often plays a large part in how you run your business, so it's important to be aware of the laws that apply to your industry. Key legislation that may affect businesses in the fisheries industry includes:
- Competition and Consumer Act 2010
- Australian Consumer Law (ACL) - Business and the ACL
- Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984
- National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety
- Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)
- National Native Title Tribunal
You can have your say on government policy and regulation affecting the future of Businesses and individuals in your industry by registering on Business consultation.
Licences and permits specific to the fisheries industry depend on the type and location of the waterways that are involved, but mainly relate to:
- approval to conduct fishing activities
- approval to use certain fishing equipment
- chemical use in aquaculture
- protecting marine parks
- protecting marine life
- disposal of waste
- managing fish population
Search Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) to find out what licences and permits you need for your industry.
If you employ staff, you need to comply with Australia's national workplace laws and the specific requirements in your industry:
- Visit the Fair Work Ombudsman for awards specific to your industry.
- Visit our section on people to find more information about taking on an employee.
There are a number of finance and tax measures specific to fisheries businesses, including:
- The Tax averaging for primary producers enables you to even out your income over a maximum of five years.
- The Primary producers on the ATO website provides details on offsets, rebates, deductions, depreciation and disaster assistance measures.
To find more finance and tax guidance, take a look at:
- Record keeping in the primary production industry for advice from the ATO about what records primary producers need to keep.
- Taxation measures at the Department of Agriculture, for information about tax offsets, tax deductions and tax concessions.
- Our information on taxation for your business.
- Our information on business finance.
Levies and charges in the fisheries industry are used to collect data, conduct scientific research, and overall manage fish resources and ensure they are sustainable.
The main levies and charges that apply to the fisheries industry include levies for farmed prawns, levies as part of fishing permits and licences, and charges related to quota management. If you export fish or fish products there are also additional levies and charges that apply.
Visit the Australian Fisheries Management Authority for information about licensing, quotas and any fees and levies that may apply to you. Visit the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to find out more about fisheries policies and regulations.
There are very few government grants available for the fisheries industry. The main grants available are related to climate change and sustainability. Search Grants & Assistance to find more grants and assistance programs for the fisheries industry.
As well as the general occupational health and safety regulations, there are also some state-specific WHS requirements relevant to the fisheries industry, including:
- protective clothing such as life jackets
- vessel safety equipment requirements
- manual handling safety standards
- preventing accidents and diseases
- workplace noise management.
Need help understanding your WHS obligations? Try these government resources:
- See the Australian Maritime Safety Authority for details on Australian standards and regulations for vessels and operators.
- For industry specific WHS information, see Safe Work Australia.
- For details on your general health and safety obligations, see Workplace Health and Safety.
- For state specific occupational health and safety information, visit Workplace health and safety in your state or territory.
As well as compulsory insurance such as workers compensation, there are also a number of specific insurance options available for businesses in the fisheries industry. Insurance options vary depending on your business type but can include insurance for equipment and machinery, property and buildings, vessels, business interruption, and fish farm livestock.
Visit How insurance works for more information.
As well as trade marks, there are other IP rights that may be relevant to fisheries businesses:
- Patents - Protects inventions such as the process of modifying plants, new machinery, new systems or processes.
IP Australia is the federal government agency responsible for granting rights in patents, trade marks and designs. Visit IP Australia to find out more about your IP options.
Industry training can be an important part of your business survival. New fishing or fish farming methods or strategies may help reduce your impacts on the environment and improve your bottom line. Need some help getting started?
- Find tips on Training yourself and your staff.
- Search Events to find government and industry events, seminars, training courses and workshops.
Businesses in the fisheries industry often rely heavily on the environment and stand to have the biggest benefits and impacts. Making environmentally conscious decisions such as sustainable fishing and waste reduction can help improve your impact on the environment. The main environmental issues that businesses in the fisheries industry should be aware of include:
- fish quotas
- waste management and reduction.
Visit Environmental management for advice on how you can manage your impact on the environment.
The key federal government agencies and websites relevant to the fisheries industry include:
- Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
- Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA)
- Department of the Environment
- Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC)
- Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)
- Torres Strait Protected Zone Joint Authority (PZJA)
- The National System for the Prevention and Management of Marine Pest Incursions
The key state government agencies relevant to the fisheries industry include:
- ACT Environment and Planning Directorate-Environment
- NSW Department of Primary Industries
- NT Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries
- QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
- SA Department of Primary Industries and Regions
- TAS Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
- VIC State Government - Fisheries
- WA Department of Fisheries
Business advisers can be a valuable tool when establishing and developing your business in your industry. Search Advisory Services to find one near you.
You may also wish to consult with an industry association or group for more information and advice on your industry.
Information that may be particularly relevant to the fisheries industry include: