Debt management: Commercial fisheries quota transfer restrictions

Policy Number TI-O-130   Effective Date 08 Jun 2012   Review Date 08 June 2014


This policy provides guidance in whether to refuse or approve applications to transfer commercial fishery quota in circumstances where there is overdue debt payable to the department by the holder of quota.


This policy applies when dealing with applications to transfer quota in either restricted or share management fisheries where an applicant has failed to pay in full, by the due date, any amount required to be paid under the Fisheries Management Act 1994 and any of the Regulations made under that Act.

This policy does not restrict any available legislative provisions or other departmental or government-wide policies being applied. This policy provides guidance in whether to approve or refuse applications for transfer of quota in circumstances of overdue debt and does not rule out decisions being made that do not align with this policy. It is intended however that this policy is to be adhered to unless extenuating circumstances based on the individual merits of a matter warrant an alternative course of action.

This policy can be applied to either overdue debt from a previous fishing period or overdue debt that results through the course of the current fishing period through instalments related to the full remaining debt not being paid, but only to overdue debt associated with the commercial fishery to which the quota transfer application relates.


  1. In the case of an applicant with overdue debt, the application to transfer quota is to be refused unless an agreement to pay the outstanding debt on terms suitable to the department is entered into by the applicant.
  2. A suitable agreement should include provision for the proceeds from the quota that is proposed to be transferred being paid to the department to be used against the debt owing.
  3. In circumstances where it is agreed by the department that there is an operational need for the applicant to keep some of the money from the proposed transfer of quota, the agreement to pay the outstanding debt may make provision for a specified amount needed for operational purposes to be retained by the applicant.
  4. If the amount indicated as being the value of the quota that is proposed to be transferred is not in line with the expected value (as determined by the department) on the open market at that time or in recent history based on previous trades in that fishery, the proposed transfer should not be approved.
  5. In all cases, the relevant legislation requires the application for transfer of quota to be accompanied by the prescribed fee.


  1. Once established that an applicant seeking to transfer quota has overdue debt, the officer dealing with the application is to contact the applicant and explain that an overdue debt issue exists and that this policy is to be applied.
  2. A way forward in line with the provisions of this policy is to be discussed with the applicant and the outcome of the discussion is to be reported through the relevant unit management structure for comment to the Manager Licensing and Policy for further direction.
  3. The Manager Licensing and Policy is to direct either that a formal approval/refusal of the proposal can be progressed to the Director Commercial Fisheries (or in the absence of the Director other positions authorised to approve or refuse the transfer) or direct the matter back for further discussion with the applicant and internal comment on any revised proposal.
  4. An application for transfer is not to be approved unless an agreement to pay the outstanding debt has been signed by the applicant and the signed agreement has been received by the department. The applicant must have also completed any other required steps before an application for transfer is approved.

Roles and responsibilities

Fisheries Management Officer
undertake preliminary assessment of the transfer application and pursue debt repayment options.
Fisheries Manager; Manager Fisheries Business Services
review proposal.
Manager Licensing and Policy
review proposal and staff comments and provide direction to progress for final approval/refusal or further discussion.
Director Commercial Fisheries or Executive Director Fisheries NSW
formal approval/refusal under delegated authority.


For the purposes of transfer of quota in circumstances in which this policy applies, approval is required from one of the positions identified below which hold delegated authority to perform the functions of the Minister and/or Director General related to approval or refusal to transfer quota:

  • Executive Director Fisheries NSW.
  • Director Commercial Fisheries.


  • Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 - Treasurer's Directions.
  • Fisheries Management Act 1994.
  • Fisheries Management (General) Regulation 2010.
  • Fisheries Management (Lobster Share Management Plan) Regulation 2000.
  • Fisheries Management (Abalone Share Management Plan) Regulation 2000.

Related policies

  • N/A.

Other related documents

  • N/A.


'Commercial fishery quota'includes:
quota in: the Lobster Share Management Fishery; the Abalone Share Management Fishery; and the Sea Urchin and Turban Shell Restricted Fishery.

Superseded documents


Revision history
Version Date issued Notes By
1 08/06/2012 List changes since the last version. Manager Licensing and Policy

Review date



Manager Licensing and Policy
Fisheries NSW – 02 8437 4986


Any legislation mentioned in this policy can be found on the NSW Legislation website

Policy Contact

For further information regarding this policy please contact:

Manager Licensing and Policy