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Our Agency


AFMA was established under the Fisheries Administration Act 1991 in February 1992 to manage Australia's Commonwealth fisheries and apply the provisions of the Fisheries Management Act 1991. Together, these two Acts created a statutory authority model for the day-to-day management of Commonwealth commercial fisheries.

AFMA's portfolio department, the Department of Agriculture, retains responsibility for strategic fisheries policy advice, legislative development and leading international negotiations.

The AFMA Commission is responsible for domestic fisheries management, and the Chief Executive Officer (who is also a Commissioner) is responsible for foreign compliance and assisting the Commission to implement its decisions. AFMA is governed by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and the Public Service Act 1999.

During the reporting period AFMA's Minister was the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources – the Hon David Littleproud MP from 1 July 2018 to 29 May 2019 and the Hon Bridget McKenzie MP was appointed Minister for Agriculture on 29 May 2019. Senator the Hon Anne Ruston was the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources with responsibility for fisheries from 1 July 2018 to 28 August 2018, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck took over from 28 August 2018 to 29 May 2019 and Senator the Hon Jonathon Duniam was appointed Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries on 29 May 2019.


AFMA is the Australian Government agency responsible for the provision of regulatory and other services to ensure efficient and sustainable management of Commonwealth fisheries on behalf of the Australian community. The challenge in delivering these services is to find the right balance between competitive and profitable seafood production and keeping the impacts of fishing on Australia's marine ecosystems within sustainable and acceptable risk levels.

Our fisheries management practices aim to maintain the ecological sustainability of Commonwealth commercial fisheries for Australians both now and into the future. These practices have regard to the impact of fishing on non-target species and the long-term health of the broader marine environment.

We generally manage commercial fisheries from three nautical miles offshore to the boundary of the Australian Fishing Zone (200 nautical miles offshore), as well as Australian boats fishing on the high seas. State and territory governments generally manage fisheries within their borders and inside three nautical miles from shore, except where Offshore Constitutional Settlement agreements exist for the management of fish species between the Commonwealth and state governments.

The Commonwealth is also responsible for international fisheries matters, including preventing illegal foreign fishing in the Australian Fishing Zone. Since ratifying the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement in 1999, Australia has been actively involved in negotiating regional arrangements to manage a range of highly migratory, straddling stocks and international stocks that are targeted by Australian operators. AFMA participates in management, monitoring, control and surveillance activities as well as developing capacity building activities, providing advice and training to countries in our region.

As a regulator we pursue efficient and cost effective fisheries management in a way that accounts for the effects of fishing and ensures ecologically sustainable development. We also regulate the harvest of fisheries resources with the aim of maximising net economic returns to the Australian community. In doing so AFMA is accountable to the community and the fishing industry.

Australia's Commonwealth commercial fisheries are managed in accordance with the government's cost recovery policy. The commercial fishing industry pays for costs directly attributed to, and recoverable from, the fishing industry, while the government pays for activities that benefit the broader Australian community. During 2018-19 about 40 per cent of total revenue was recovered from the fishing industry.


AFMA proactively engages with scientists, commercial fishers and fishing associations, researchers, environment and conservation organisations, other Australian Government, territory and state agencies, and recreational and Indigenous fishers about our management of Commonwealth fisheries and compliance activities. We continue to encourage and promote a partnership approach with stakeholders, involving them in developing policies and actions and to share responsibility for fisheries management (and the associated risks) where appropriate.

We also provides fisheries management services to Joint Authorities of the Commonwealth and state governments, including the Torres Strait Protected Zone Joint Authority under the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984. The status of these fisheries and AFMA's activities in managing them are reported separately through the Protected Zone Joint Authority annual report and relevant Joint Authority reports between the States/Northern Territory and the Commonwealth.


We individually and collectively underpin our service, partnerships and accountability to stakeholders by adhering to the principles of public sector governance.

We are:

  • Impartial – we are apolitical and provide the government with advice that is frank, honest, timely and based on the best available evidence.
  • Committed to service – we are professional, objective, innovative and efficient, and we work collaboratively to achieve the best results for the Australian community and the government.
  • Accountable – we are open and accountable to the Australian community under the law and within the framework of Ministerial responsibility.
  • Respectful – we respect all people, including their rights and their heritage.
  • Ethical – we demonstrate leadership, are trustworthy, and act with integrity, in all that we do.

AFMA's Client Service Charter also expresses our ongoing commitment to providing stakeholders with quality service. The Client Service Charter is available at our website at afma.gov.au.


Our organisational structure as at 30 June 2019 is presented below.

Minister for Agriculture and Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries

AFMA Commission

AFMA Chief Executive officer
Mr Wez Norris

Fisheries Management Branch
Executive Manager
Ms Anna Willock

Fisheries operations Branch
General Manager
Mr Peter Venslovas

Corporate Services Branch General Manager
Mr John Andersen

Northern Fisheries & Co-management
Senior Manager
Mr Steve Bolton

Torres Strait Fisheries
Ms Selina Stoute

National Compliance Strategy
Senior Manager
Mr Tod Spencer

Executive Support and Executive Secretariat
Senior Manager
Mr Andrew Pearson

Demersal and Midwater Fisheries
Senior Manager
Mr George Day

Compliance Operations (Darwin)
Senior Manager
Mr John Davis

Business Support
Chief Finance Office
Mr Robert Gehrig

Tuna and International Fisheries
Senior Manager
Mr Trent Timmiss

Foreign Compliance Policy
Senior Manager
Ms Kerry Smith

Workplace Group – Human Resources
Senior Manager
Ms Libby Jenkins

Policy, Environment, Economics and Research
Senior Manager
Mr Ryan Murphy

Workplace Group – Property and Security
Senior Manager
Mr Scott Connors

Fisheries Services A/g
Senior Manager
Mr Andrew Powell

Technology and Digital Services
Chief Information Officer
Mr Mick Roses

Communications Manager
Ms Sarah Schofield


AFMA has offices at four locations: Canberra, Darwin, Thursday Island and Lakes Entrance. Details of our office locations are provided below.

AFMA office locations

Canberra office

Street address

Postal Address


Level 3
15 Lancaster Place

PO BOX 7051
Canberra Business Centre

Ph: (02) 6225 5555
Fax: (02) 6225 5500
AFMA Direct: 1300 723 621

Darwin office

Street address

Postal Address


Level 6, Jacana House
39-41 Woods Street

GPO Box 131

Ph: (08) 8943 0333
Fax: (08) 8942 2897

Thursday Island office

Street address

Postal Address


Level 2, Pearls Building
38 Victoria Parade

PO Box 376

Ph: (07) 4069 1990
Fax: (07) 4069 1277

Lakes Entrance office

Street address

Postal Address


Seamec Building
Bullock Island Road

PO Box 408

Ph: 0447 019 916

A number of observers are in various locations around Australia.

View of Ulladulla Harbour NSW Photo courtesy Georgia LangdonView of Ulladulla Harbour NSW Photo courtesy Georgia Langdon