Ms Hodgkinson said the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is committed to improving the viability of the commercial fishing industry and this body will be the collective voice of the industry, providing industry leadership throughout the continuation of the reforms.
“This initiative is the next step of the NSW Government's response to the Independent Review of NSW Commercial Fisheries Policy, Management and Administration,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“One of the supported recommendations was the need for a body to ‘provide fishing industry views to government on an industry-wide, regional and to a lesser extent an individual fisher basis’.
“An independent expert was commissioned to assist in the design of the peak industry body and to guide the process to meet the needs of both industry and Government. This included thorough consultation with the Professional Fisherman’s Association and the industry.
“The successful body will be required to have adequate knowledge across the commercial fishing industry sectors Statewide, for example lobster, abalone, trawl, trap, line and estuary.
“The peak body will deliver feedback and advice to the Ministerial Fisheries Advisory Council, the Department of Primary Industries, and the Minister.
“Interested parties will be invited to demonstrate a set of robust and cost effective governance arrangements.
“A sound probity plan will help guide the tender process providing the appropriate level of transparency and objectiveness in procuring this important service.
“The long-term goal is for industry to form and endorse a single peak body that provides a united industry voice,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
Chairman of the Independent Review of NSW Commercial Fisheries, Richard Stevens OAM, said a professional body will benefit the commercial industry.
“The formation of a strong representative peak industry body for the commercial fishing sector was one of the key recommendations of the Review,” Mr Stevens said. “The current disparate nature of industry organisations has been a barrier to effective consultation and representation.
“The sooner the commercial industry establishes an adequately funded and professional body, the better it will be for all parties involved in pursuing sensible fisheries management in NSW.”
The body will be contracted for a period of three years. Tenders close 18 December 2013.