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Adopting a delicate balance between commercial fishing, community interest and the environment, is one that professional fishers take very seriously. Sustainability is the first and foremost issue on the minds of commercial fishers as their livelihoods are reliant on healthy fish stocks and healthy environments into the future.

The NSW commercial fisheries are carefully managed under strict guidelines and legislative requirements. Fisheries in NSW are managed into different segments due to the method of capture because of the large number of species taken for sale, and the range of gear types used.

Through the NSW DPI, many commercial fisheries are managed and defined by the method of capture (e.g. prawn trawl and fish trap) however, some of the more valuable fisheries with one target species are defined by the species itself (e.g. abalone and rock lobster).

NSW DPI develops policies, specific rules, and legislation to be included in specific management plans for each fishery. The resource is shared with more than 1,000 commercial fishers who catch fish for the whole community to enjoy. The industry has recognised the challenges in making fisheries sustainable and has led many of the changes introduced to improve environmental performance.


See more about NSW’s Fisheries Management Techniques on the NSW DPI Fisheries website.

The PFA works closely with Ocean Watch to ensure sustainable practices and continuous improvement is adopted within our industry. Ocean Watch Australia Ltd is a national not-for-profit environmental company that works to advance sustainability in the Australian seafood industry.

Value of our Sustainable Industry for the Community

The clean and green reputation of the whole NSW seafood industry depends on fisheries being viable, profitable and sustainable. The industry underpins the economy of many coastal towns providing wealth and employment in places, and at times of the year, where there is little other economic activity.

The seafood industry, which includes aquaculture and oyster farmers is a vibrant industry which generates over half a billion dollars of economic activity each year, employing more than 4000 people. Of this, the wild harvest commercial fishing managed under NSW jurisdiction is worth more than $90 million dollars.

The NSW fishing industry is primarily made up of small family businesses that rely on high levels of local knowledge and skills learnt over many generations. These businesses use some of the most environmentally sound technology available, such as world leading by-catch reduction devices, and operate under stringent controls regarding their fishing times, seasons and equipment. The industry is constantly striving to improve its environmental performance and contributes millions of dollars each year to research and compliance programs.

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