New Chair for AFMA Fisheries Commission

On 1 July 2017, former federal Senator for Victoria, Helen Kroger commenced as the new Chair of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).  Here Helen took some time to introduce herself and her role for the next five years.

I am delighted to be appointed as the Chair of AFMA and look forward to working with the fishing industry and other stakeholders over the next five years.

My experience has largely been in private, public and not for profit sectors for the last 20 years, including six years in the Australian Senate. I love Australian seafood and firmly believe that all Australians should be proud of our commercial fishing industry. Our fisheries are a shared resource so a healthy marine environment is  essential for a vibrant recreational fishing sector.

In the trawl sector, the work that industry, led by SETFIA has been doing to reduce interactions with seabirds is fantastic. Innovation and new technology will need to continue to remain a focus for the fishing industry to meet the challenges ahead.

As SETFIA news readers may know the independent AFMA Commission is responsible for domestic fisheries management, including setting total allowable catch limits for commercial fish stocks each season. Science-based decision making is pivotal to our decision making and we have seen the success of this approach including Australia being recognised internationally as having some of the best fisheries management in the world.

Good fisheries governance is essential both to AFMA and the fishing industry to provide secure fishing access and sustainable catches into the future.  I intend to bring my experience in economics, business management and public sector administration into this position to maintain and hopefully further improve fisheries governance.  Between myself and the other six Commissioners we have a broad mix of skills and experience that I believe is invaluable to good decision making and good fisheries performance.

I look forward to meeting with the SETFIA Board and its members, and hearing your thoughts on the future of the trawl fishing industry and how good fisheries regulation can support it.

This month, Helen Kroger visited Lakes Entrance and met operators from a number of Commonwealth fisheries based in Lakes Entrance, including several otter board trawl and Danish Seine fishers in the South East Trawl Fishery. Ms Kroger also visited the Lakes Entrance Fishermen’s Co-operative on Bullock Island and met General Manager Brad Duncan and watched a fishing boat unload its catches. Ms Kroger was very well received during her visit and was able to talk to industry members at length about their history in the fishery, the challenges they face and their future aspirations for the Australian seafood industry.

Ms Kroger’s visit coincided with AFMA’ s announcement on 11 August that it was opening a regional office in Lakes Entrance in early 2018.