The Aquatic Resources Management Act 2016 (ARMA) is coming…..

If you haven’t already heard, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is working hard to ensure the new fisheries legislation, the Aquatic Resources Management Act 2016 (ARMA), will come into effect on 1 November 2023.

ARMA will replace the Fish Resources Management Act 1994 (FRMA) and the Pearling Act 1990 (Pearling Act) and aims to build on current legislation, where key management frameworks from the FRMA will be retained and carried over into the new legislation. For example, existing fishery management plans will continue following ARMA implementation.

In preparation of transitioning to the new Act, DPIRD has established an ARMA Stakeholder Reference Group which includes representation from the sector bodies, Recfishwest, Aquaculture Council WA, WAFIC and Western Rock Lobster to discuss key matters involved with moving to ARMA.

WAFIC has also established an ARMA Industry Working Group, which includes a broad range of industry experts and representatives across our sector and provides WAFIC with high level industry advice to assist with our representations to government regarding ARMA related policies, subsidiary legislation, communications and engagement.

Draft ARMA based policies

Late last year, DPIRD released two draft ARMA related policies for public comment being:

  1. Objective Setting and Allocations for Aquatic Resources Under ARMA (allocation policy); and
  2. ARMA-Based Harvest Strategy Policy (harvest strategy policy).

Both documents can be found here

WAFIC’s ARMA Industry Working Group considered the two draft ARMA related policies in detail, and subsequently assisted WAFIC to develop and provide an extensive industry submission to DPIRD to ensure high-level industry’s concerns were represented.

DPIRD is now in the process of making final adjustments to the Allocation Policy to reflect responses to stakeholder’s submissions, which will then be provided to the Minister for Fisheries for consideration in the coming months.

The draft ARMA-Based Harvest Strategy Policy will go through a second round of consultation shortly.

How to stay up to date with ARMA

There are a number of ways you can stay up to date with ARMA, how it’s progressing towards the 1 November 2023 implementation date, and what it will mean to you as a commercial fisher, or processor.

While DPIRD is responsible for engaging and communicating with all relevant stakeholders regarding ARMA, WAFIC aims to engage with the commercial fishing sector to facilitate their understanding of the new legislation, its potential implications for our sector, as well as ensuring the industry’s views and concerns are heard and made known to government.

DPIRD engagement

DPIRD will keep stakeholders informed via the following methods:

  • DPIRD’s ‘ARMA update’ email.
    To receive emails directly from DPIRD regarding the progress, activities and events related to ARMA implementation, please subscribe via this link. A copy of each ARMA update can also be found here on DPIRD’s website.
  • Frequently Ask Questions (FAQs)
    DPIRD has developed an FAQ document regarding ARMA that is relevant to commercial fishers and processors which is expected to be published on DPIRD’s website shortly.
  • DPIRD website
    DPIRD will continue to update key stakeholders on progress, activities and events related to ARMA implementation on their website here
  • Annual Management Meetings
    DPIRD has advised they will also be engaging with the commercial sector on ARMA through fishery specific Annual Management Meetings (AMMs). Please note the remainder of the 2023 AMM schedule is close to being finalised and once completed will be published on the WAFIC website.

So, stay tuned to our monthly newsletters as that is where we will advise industry when the AMM schedule has been uploaded.

WAFIC engagement

WAFIC will primarily communicate and engage with the commercial fishing sector through the following methods:

  • WAFIC newsletter
    Key ARMA-related issues, as well as opportunities for broader industry feedback regarding relevant ARMA policies and legislation will be communicated to industry through the WAFIC newsletter. Click here to subscribe if you haven’t already.
  • Our website
    All relevant ARMA documents, key issues and contacts details will be uploaded to a dedicated page on the WAFIC website.
  • Fishery targeted communication
    Where appropriate, you will receive email correspondence from WAFIC if there is an ARMA related issue that specifically impacts your fishery or operations.

WAFIC will continue to engage with its ARMA Industry Working Group to discuss high-level policy and legislation.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Laura Orme at WAFIC on [email protected] or on 9432 7712.