Carry-forward allows for greater flexibility in the management of rock lobster
Similar levels of market disruption could occur again and there is currently nothing in place to alleviate the economic pressure that it causes. It is possible in the changing world we live in that market disruptions like Covid-19 will happen again, in the form of other pandemics or the occurrence of more frequent and intense biotoxin events. Currently no other options are being explored to offset the loss incurred by quota owners, fishermen, processors and exporters due to Covid-19.
Carry-forward of unused ACE can provide the industry with an important tool to partially alleviate the financial hardship caused by disruption to fishing. Carry-forward can mitigate the impacts of more than market access loss to China. It can also help address the impacts of increasingly frequent biotoxin events that could prevent harvesting. If that were to occur in an area late in the fishing year – ACE could not be caught. Availability of other markets would not assist.
If market access is hindered, or price is reduced, extending limited harvesting into the next fishing year provides the potential for a far better economic return for operators which can flow into the regional businesses and communities where the industry is located. If market access is temporarily curtailed, carry-forward allows deferral of harvest until access can be regained.
The pāua industry has seen the benefit in enabling carry forward – the rock lobster industry is likely to see the same benefits
Pāua was removed from Schedule 5A in 2011 to allow for carry-forward. The pāua industry has found carry forward to be beneficial as it provides for:
- flexibility in administration of the fishery
- greater ability to match product supply with export demand
- support for industry catch spreading arrangements; and
- reduced compliance costs associated with end of year ACE balancing.
These are all benefits that the rock lobster industry would see from carry-forward.
Carry-forward can also help with the administration of ACE portfolios
The requirement to balance landings exactly to the last kilogramme at the 15th day after the end of a fishing year arguably causes unnecessary transaction costs as entities try to arrange transfer of small amounts of ACE to meet the deadline.