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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries


For the past five decades we have managed our aquatic resources based on individual fishing activities and sectors.

The new Aquatic Resources Management Act 2016 (ARMA) will result in a more integrated approach focussed on clearly defined aquatic resources and recognising the need to maintain ecological sustainability as well as resource access for customary fishing, recreational fishing, commercial fishing, aquaculture, research (to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the resource) and other community benefit activities. 

Under ARMA, management arrangements for some fisheries will also incorporate a new framework consisting of two new parts – Aquatic Resource Management Strategies (ARMS) and Aquatic Resource Use plans (ARUPs).

Aquatic Resource Management Strategy (ARMS)

An ARMS is an overarching policy approved by the Minister for Fisheries which sets out what needs to be considered in managing an aquatic resource.

An ARMS must include:

  • identification of the specific resource to be managed;
  • the main management objectives;
  • the minimum quantity of the resource required to remain in the water to ensure it remains ecologically sustainable;
  • the quantity of the resource available for public benefit use and customary fishing;
  • the total catch that can be taken by both commercial and recreational fishing sectors – this is called the Total Allowable Catch (TAC);
  • the proportions of the TAC available for recreational and commercial fishing (including aquaculture brood stock purposes); and
  • the number of shares in the resource available to the commercial sector. Each share represents a proportion of the resource that has been allocated to the commercial sector.

These elements establish the basis for developing the specific management arrangements (such as gear restrictions, quotas, closed seasons and bag limits) that will ensure the ARMS’ objectives are met.

Specific management arrangements for the resource are set out in ARUPs (see below) and associated regulations.

Aquatic Resource Use Plan (ARUP)

ARUPs outline the management arrangements for each sector including the processes for monitoring each sector’s catch and ensuring it remains in line with the amount set out in the ARMS.

In most cases, there will be multiple ARUPs under an ARMS potentially applying to different sectors and/or fishing activities.

For the commercial sector, ARUPs will allocate transferrable shares in the resource, with each share entitling the holder to a proportion of the annual catch available for commercial fishing.   

ARUPs will work alongside regulations and other legislation to deliver robust management controls.

Other management methods

In the future, a number of fisheries will move into the new framework, but not all fisheries/aquatic resources transition in this way. Existing arrangements under the Fish Resource Management Act 1994 and the capacity to amend existing management plans will continue under the new Act. ARMA also allows rules and licensing arrangements for fishing activities to be introduced without an ARMS/ARUP.

Last modified: 23/08/2018 1:03 PM

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