Update on the future of VMS

You may recall from our previous newsletter that both DPIRD and Parks Australia have separately engaged in preliminary discussions with WAFIC regarding possible future VMS requirements for commercial fishing vessels in WA.  Parks Australia have expressed their desire for a greater VMS take-up by commercial fishers across Australia to assist monitoring activities within Commonwealth Marine Park Zones and will potentially have grant money available for DPIRD to support operators to adopt modern technology.

WAFIC has been advised that the Director of National Parks intends to require all commercial fishing vessels transiting or operating in Australian Marine Parks to carry an operating vessel identification and monitoring system from early 2024. We have been told that the Director will commence consultation over this matter with fisheries management agencies and the commercial fishing industry in the second half of 2022. More information on this arrangement can be found on the Parks Australia website here.

As previously advised, in 2022 WAFIC will convene a VMS working group with industry to discuss any concerns with potential future requirements, share information and decide upon how to engage with government to ensure the interests of the fishing industry are not compromised.

WAFIC already has a suite of preliminary concerns – ranging from confidentiality of data to cost burdens on fishers, to applicability for certain fisheries.  Clearly there will be a lot of pressure applied by the Commonwealth in 2022-24 to seek the widespread adoption of VMS in Western Australia, so as an industry we need to be across the issues and be fully prepared to ensure our positions are understood.

Separate to the consultation processes on this arrangement, Parks Australia have also announced their Electronic and Vessel Monitoring Systems (EVMS) Assistance Program, which seeks to support and promote uptake of vessel monitoring and e-monitoring technologies ahead of this change, raising awareness and encouraging early uptake.

The EVMS Assistance Program is now open to grant applications from State and Northern Territory fisheries management agencies from 13 October 2021 to 16 November 2021. Further information on the assistance and engagement package can be found here.

WAFIC is in active discussions with DPIRD on the assistance program and is aware of their application to the Commonwealth to access grant money on offer.

For further information or to provide feedback, please contact LAURA IN WAFIC’S INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT TEAM