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

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment retains responsibility for strategic fisheries policy advice, legislative development and leading international negotiations as well as responsibility for the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and fishery assessments.

The AFMA Commission is responsible for domestic fisheries management, and the CEO, who is also a Commissioner, is responsible for foreign compliance outcomes and assisting the Commission to implement its decisions. The CEO is also responsible for assisting the Minister in managing Torres Strait Fisheries under the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984. AFMA is governed by the PGPA Act and the Public Service Act 1999.

During the reporting period AFMA’s Ministers were the Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia – the Hon David Littleproud MP – and the Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries – Senator the Hon Jonathon Duniam.