Members may be aware that the PSA and Fisheries Officers’ Vocational Board (FOVB) were to implement work bans from midnight Monday 30 August 2021 on the face-to-face compliance enforcement of Illegal, Unregulated and Unlicensed (IUU) fishers targeting abalone and rock lobster.
This bulletin confirms those bans will not be implemented midnight Monday 30 August 2021
In response to the announcement of work bans, FOVB Executive (FOVBE) members, PSA representatives met with the Deputy Director General and Director Fisheries Compliance on Thursday 26 August 2021. During those discussions the FOVB was pleased to hear there was significant movement towards what your union had initially sought; a concrete plan to enhance the safety aspects of Fisheries Officers when dealing with IUU abalone and rock lobster offences.
A summary of those discussions included:
- An in-principle agreement for an independent audit on the current safety protocols for Fisheries Officers with the PSA involved in developing the Terms of Reference;
- Agreement from NSW Police to trial the carriage and use of Oleoresin Capsicum Spray, commonly known as OC Spray in two areas of Fisheries Compliance;
- Agreement to purchase stab proof plates that insert into the Officers’ load-bearing vests;
- Investigation into the Legal Prosecution processes with the FOVB Chair invited to high level meetings with the DDG DPI Fisheries and DRNSW General Counsel.
Whilst providing the FOVB with hope their concerns are being acted upon your union is mindful that it is actions that will alleviate those issues. There is an understanding, however, that unfortunately COVID-19 is a factor and will ultimately dictate some timeframes.
The PSA and FOVBE will continue to meet with the DDG and DFC to discuss other aspects of Fisheries Officers’ safety as several matters remain outstanding.
For these reasons and the commitment for further discussions, the FOVBE has decided to suspend the proposed work bans.
There is strength in unity.