AFMA sets a budget in each fishery each year. SETFIA is involved in process for the South East Trawl Fishery (SETF).
AFMA’s budgetary year is the financial year (end June to 1 July). However, the first (of three) levy notice arrived in January. The delay in sending the first levy notice means that if the previous year’s budget has been over/under spent or over/under recovered that this net amount can be added or deducted from the current budget. This is called the acquittal process.
AFMA have publically committed to not increasing their total budget by more than cumulative CPI increases based on the 2005/06 financial year. SETFIA worked hard to negotiate a 6.7% reduction in this year’s budget. Adding CPI means that in real terms the reduction last year was in the order of 10%.
AFMA have announced that they under-spent the 2012/13 SET budget by 7.5%. Budget reductions and underspends mean that 2013/14 levies will be 24% or $765,000 less than 2012/13. Across the approximately 50 SETF permits this is a saving of approximately $15,000 per operator on average. The actual savings will depend on the types of permits and quota held.
The 7.5% underspend is a result from AFMA’s willingness to review costs and to consider the timing of major items such as research. The Association commends all AFMA staff for their efforts. Substantial savings came from delaying the fishery independent survey until winter 2014 and a move to electronic logbooks. The 2014 fishery independent survey will mean that levies are likely to increase next year due to the scheduling of a large research project although savings will be sought in other areas to offset some of the cost.
This 24% reduction in the SETF budget is more than the average 17.5% average reduction across all AFMA managed fisheries.