Fisheries Cost Recovery

New approach – regulatory amendment and consultation

The first stage of the new, prospective cost recovery system commenced on 1 April 2014, and the second phase took effect from 1 April 2015. Licence renewal notices issued in 2016 reflect the final phasing in of changes to levies under the Fisheries (Fees, Royalties and Levies) and Fisheries Regulations 2008, and subsequent amendments.

Review of the level and nature of fisheries services to be delivered has involved fishery specific consultation to allow entitlement holders have an opportunity to input into the process. Implementation of the new system has also occurred under guidance from the Fisheries Cost Recovery Standing Committee.

Further review of the prospective cost recovery system will occur in 2018 when the new system has been in operation for 4 years. Until then, the current levies will remain in place, increasing only by CPI, or if additional services are deemed necessary. The practice of reviewing service delivery annually will continue and may result in levy reduction through a waiver or offset if a material impact from less than the described service is identified.

Regional Forums

Greater transparency, accountability and consultation are key features of the new system. Accordingly, VFA has been holding regional forums to discuss the nature and extent of Fishery Services provided to each fishery under the new cost recovery system. These forums provide an opportunity for industry to have input into the new system and ask questions related to their fishery.

Seafood Industry Victoria (SIV), as a body representing industry, have been working with the Department to facilitate industry engagement in regional forums that were held in July and August 2014.

Cost Recovery Service Schedules by fishery

Fisheries Services levies are based on the management, research, compliance and administration services provided by VFA to each fishery. A description of the services and associated costs are documented in a service schedule for each fishery. The resulting levies are set in the Fisheries (Fees, Royalties and Levies) Regulations 2008. The cost estimations in each schedule relate to full implementation of the prospective cost recovery system.

The schedules provide the basis upon which VFA will report twice yearly on the delivery of services for each fishery. They are prepared on a licence class basis and the draft schedules for 2018-19 are provided below.



How do I know what my levies will be?

You will have received a licence renewal notice in early March 2017 (or early June for Rock Lobster, Giant Crab and Sea Urchin) which includes the fees and levies for 2017/18.

For an explanation of what this levy notice means see Explanation of your levies 2017-18.


The increased levies are being phased in over three years and include a number of concessions to assist industry adjust to the higher levies. Following release of the RIS and consideration of submissions and advice from FCRSC, further concessions were provided by the Minister. In addition to the three year phase in, the following concessions apply:

  • Nil cost recovery for the surveillance aspect of commercial compliance for all fisheries;
  • Nil cost recovery for intelligence and investigation aspects of commercial compliance for all fisheries;
  • Reduced attribution of costs for Catch & Effort administration;
  • Nil cost recovery for the preparation of fishery management plans;
  • Reduced attribution of costs to particular commercial finfish fisheries;
  • A 'small operator' concession provided by capping cost recovery levies (Fisheries Services component) at $500 per licence for fisheries and aquaculture entities with low production (less than 500kg per annum);
  • 50:50 allocation of costs in the rock lobster and giant crab fisheries between licence and quota holders (rather than the 70:30 proposed in the RIS), which eases pressure on smaller operators; and
  • a further reduction in compliance costs for the wrasse, Gippsland Lakes, Port Phillip Bay purse seine fisheries, abalone fish receivers, and the following aquaculture licence classes:
    • crown land off-shore, crown land abalone, crown land bivalve shellfish, crown land other; and
    • private land marine, private land yabbies, private land salmonids, private land indoor intensive, private land warm water finfish, private land ornamentals, private land eels, private land other.

All pre- and post-RIS concessions and adjustments result in an overall 31 per cent reduction in cost that would have otherwise been recoverable.

Cost Recovery Reporting

Under the new system, VFA will report against services for each fishery on a twice yearly basis. See the latest cost recovery report here.

Frequently asked questions