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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries


We assist the Minister for Fisheries in the administration of legislation under five State Acts ​of Parliament:

  • Fish Resources Management Act 1994,
  • Pearling Act 1990,
  • Fisheries Adjustment Schemes Act 1987,
  • Fishing and Related Industries Compensation (Marine Reserves) Act 1997, and the 
  • Fishing Industry Promotion Training and Management Levy Act

The Department of Fisheries, established and designated under the Public Sector Management Act 1994, is the department principally assisting the Minister in the administration of these Acts. 

Under the Acts there is a division of power between the Minister and the statutory office of the Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Fisheries. In broad terms, the Minister establishes the statutory and policy framework for fisheries management, while the office of the Executive Director carries out the day-to-day aspects of administration. 

As part of its responsibilities for assisting the Minister with the administration of the Acts, the Department of Fisheries also undertakes research, management, surveillance, enforcement and education in the marine parks and reserves established under the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984, and provides ‘at-sea' compliance services on behalf of the Department of Planning and Infrastructure.

The Department of Fisheries also carries out fisheries compliance activities on behalf of the Commonwealth in waters adjacent to Western Australia in Australia's Economic Exclusion Zone, in accordance with the provisions of the Commonwealth's Fisheries Management Act 1991. This Zone extends 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) from the State's coastal borders.

The following list shows fisheries in Western Australia that fall under State, joint or Commonwealth jurisdiction and activity under the Offshore Constitutional Settlement Agreement (refer to Fisheries Management Paper No 77 for further details of the Offshore Constitutional Settlement Agreement).

The Department of Fisheries manages the majority of fishing adjacent to Western Australia in the Australian Fishing Zone under the provisions of Part 5 of the Fisheries Management Act 1991 of the Commonwealth and Part 3 of the Fish Resources Management Act 1994 (FRMA 1994).

Fisheries under Western Australia State jurisdiction

Except for those fisheries listed below for different jurisdictions, the following fisheries are controlled by Western Australia in accordance with State law: 

  • all bony fish and shark;
  • all aquatic invertebrates;
  • all marine algae; and
  • all sea grass.

Note: bycatch is also included in these fisheries.

Fisheries under Western Australia Joint Authority jurisdiction

The following fishery is controlled jointly by the State and Commonwealth under State law:

  • Northern Shark Fishery (east of Koolan Island).

Fisheries under Commonwealth jurisdiction

The following fisheries are controlled by the Commonwealth, in accordance with commonwealth fisheries legislation: 

  • The Northern Prawn Fishery;
  • The Southern and Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery;
  • Western Deepwater Trawl; and
  • North-West Slope Trawl.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding between the Offshore Constitutional Parties, the Commonwealth, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia must meet at least once per year to discuss management of northern fish stock subject to their respective Offshore Constitutional Settlement (OCS) agreements and Joint Authority arrangements.

The activities of fisheries undertaken through the Joint Authority are described in a report tabled in the Commonwealth and Western Australian Parliaments. ​​​​

Last modified: 3/12/2021 3:03 PM

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