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Letter of transmittal

18 September 2019

Senator the Hon Jonathon Duniam
Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries
Parliament House

Dear Assistant Minister

We have much pleasure in presenting to you the annual report of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) for the financial year ended 30 June 2019. This report also includes AFMA's Annual Performance Statement for 2018-19, which was a period of very significant change for AFMA.

On behalf of the AFMA Commission and staff, we offer our thanks and congratulations to Dr James Findlay and Dr Nick Rayns for their years of tireless service and high performance as AFMA's CEO and Executive Manager, Fisheries. AFMA has been fortunate to have such high quality incumbents in those jobs over many years, as evidenced by AFMA's strong performance. We wish James and Nick the very best in their current and future endeavours.

Replacing such a well-established leadership has been a challenging process and we congratulate Ms Anna Willock for her excellent work in leading AFMA throughout that difficult period, as well as for agreeing to continue her service to the agency as the Executive Manager, Fisheries.

Equally, the end of the reporting period saw a transition in the membership of the AFMA Commission, with four long-term Commissioners departing our ranks. The contributions made by Ms Renata Brooks, Mr Ian Cartwright, Dr Keith Sainsbury and Dr Richard Stevens over their incredible more than 50 years of combined service to the Commission, and the AFMA Board before that, has been enormous and has shaped the management of Commonwealth fisheries for the better.

We join you in welcoming AFMA's new Commissioners, Mr Brett McCallum, Dr Sevaly Sen, Dr David Smith and Mr Scott Spencer. AFMA is fortunate to have such a highly qualified and diversely experienced group to complement the three ongoing Commissioners, Ms Catherine Cooper and ourselves.

In January 2019, and after many years in the same location, AFMA moved premises. The relocation, including substantial investments in IT systems, was completed on time, under budget and without loss of service delivery. While there are still some challenges to overcome, including settling into new working arrangements in an activity-based workspace, credit goes to all staff for their assistance and engagement.

Despite all this change, during 2018-19, AFMA, in partnership with industry, has provided the Australian community with well-managed Commonwealth commercial fisheries. Not only did these fisheries contribute some $380 million in gross value of production, but for the sixth consecutive year, no fish stocks managed solely by AFMA were subject to overfishing – this result is world leading. This coupled with compliance activities by AFMA officers ensured that these valuable and sustainable fish resources were not undermined by illegal fishing activity. In addition, recognising the high expectations of all stakeholders, AFMA continues to reduce the risk of commercial, recreational and Indigenous fishing, impacting on the health of the marine environment. Telling this story to raise community understanding and trust in AFMA to deliver positive outcomes for ecologically sustainable development remains one of our major challenges going forward.

This report has been prepared in accordance with section 87 of the Fisheries Administration Act 1991 and in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Amendment (Non-corporate Commonwealth Entity Annual Reporting) Rule 2014, approved by the Minister for Finance under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

In addition, and as required under section 10 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014, we certify that we are satisfied that AFMA has:

  • prepared fraud risk assessments and fraud control plans
  • put in place appropriate fraud prevention, detection, investigation, recording or reporting mechanisms that meet the specific needs of the agency
  • taken all reasonable measures to appropriately deal with fraud relating to the agency.

We give the report to you for presentation to Parliament as required under section 46 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

Yours sincerelyChairman and Chief Executive Officer signature