fisheries reform queensland

Key fisheries reform a step closer

THE Queensland Government today outlined the proposed direction for fisheries reform in the state’s trawl, crab and east coast inshore fisheries.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said a directions paper on fisheries reform was the next step to create a world-class fisheries management system under the Queensland Sustainable Fisheries Strategy. “The Palaszczuk Government is committed to making these key fisheries sustainable for the future, profitable for the commercial sector and enjoyable for recreational fishing,” Mr Furner said.

“The overwhelming message from stakeholders to a number of reviews since 2014 is that fisheries management must change. Doing nothing is not an option when the current system is not working. There are few catch limits, poor fisheries compliance, high conflict between stakeholders and concerns about bycatch and protected species interactions.”

Mr Furner said the directions paper provides certainty about fisheries changes to be implemented later in 2019 which will apply to commercial and recreational fishers.

The proposed reforms include:

Trawl fishery
  • Splitting the trawl fishery into five regions;
  • Allocating effort units (i.e. fishing nights) to those regions and setting regional effort caps; and
  • Transitioning Moreton Bay trawl fishers to effort units similar to the rest of the trawl fleet.
Crab fishery
  • Individual quota on mud and blue swimmer crab;
  • Mandatory bycatch reduction devices;
  • Consider reducing the recreational in-possession limit for mud crabs to between six and 10 crabs;
  • Consider recreational boat limits for black marketing priority species (e.g. mud crab); and
  • Prohibit the use of lightweight crab pots that are easily lost in the environment.
East coast inshore fishery
  • Individual quota on a number of species (for example, barramundi, king threadfin, grey mackerel, school mackerel and whiting) and total catch limits on others (for example, shark, tailor, bream, flathead, mullet);
  • Mandatory bycatch reduction devices and establishing a best management practice program for netting;
  • General possession limit of 20 for all species which don’t have a recreational in-possession limit (not including bait); and
  • Consider recreational boat limits for black marketing priority species (e.g. barramundi, black jewfish, coral trout, spanish mackerel)

Mr Furner said the proposed reforms have followed input from all sectors since the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy’s release in June 2017.

“All stakeholders have provided feedback on the reforms needed to our major fisheries and this includes independent advice from the Sustainable Fisheries Expert Panel,” Mr Furner said. “We all want our children and grandchildren to be able to enjoy a sustainable fishery, either for recreation or as an industry. There will be another opportunity for people to have their say when proposed regulatory amendments are released for feedback in April 2019.”

The Queensland Government expects to implement the reforms through a revised Fisheries Regulation by September.

The directions paper on fisheries reform is available online at www.fisheries.qld.gov.au

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