The Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) is the peak industry body representing commercial fishing, pearling and aquaculture enterprises, processors and exporters in Western Australia.

WAFIC works to secure a responsible and sustainable industry that is confident of resource sustainability and security of access to a fair share of the resource; cost-effective fisheries management so that businesses can be operated in a safe, environmentally responsible and profitable way; and ensures investment in industry research and development is valued and promoted.

In response to the appeal decision made by the Federal Court of Australia Santos NA Barossa Pty Ltd v Tipakalippa [2022] FCAFC 193 (appeal decision) on 2 December 2022, WAFIC would like to communicate the preferred approach in undertaking consultation with commercial fishing licence holders that will only be affected by a significant unplanned event (emergency scenario)1.

To manage consultation fatigue with the commercial fishing licence holders, WAFIC requests titleholders develop separate consultation strategies for significant unplanned events (for example oil spill) where titleholders can demonstrate the likelihood of such events occurring is extremely low.

Consultation on unplanned events resulting in an emergency scenario should only be undertaken if an incident occurs.

WAFIC claims relating to titleholder preparedness for emergency scenarios

  • Baseline scientific data on aquatic organisms and the marine environment
  • An understanding of the process and strategy to temporarily close a fishery either via a voluntary process or formally through legislation under the Fish Resources Management Act 1994.
  • Processes to support the commercial fishing industry with regards to traceability of fish product to manage tainting risks.
  • A detailed process for post spill scientific monitoring of aquatic organisms and the marine environment.
  • Commitment for financial assistance to the commercial fishing industry in the event the industry is unable to operate, due to an unplanned event.

Consultation with WAFIC in the event of an emergency scenarios

  • Communication strategy for the commercial fishing industry in response to an emergency event, including a list of fisheries that fall within the environment that may be affected by the emergency scenario.
  • WAFIC and commercial fishing licence holders are notified within 24 hours of any emergency scenario.

1 For Commonwealth Managed Fisheries that operate in WA waters clarification on consultation for unplanned events should be directed through the Commonwealth Fisheries Association, Tuna Australia or Australian Fisheries Management Authority.