15 and 22 September 2023 taskforce meetings

Meetings 8 and 9 of the Future Fishing Taskforce were held in-person and via videoconference on 15 and 22 September 2023 in Brisbane, and were chaired by Mr John Tanzer. This communique will cover both meetings and will be the final communique from the taskforce.

The taskforce watched Defending the Catch, a video featuring commercial gillnet fishers who operate in the fishery. The taskforce appreciated the quality of the production, the industry and stakeholder messages, and commended the industry leaders and contributors in putting this video together.

The taskforce considered industry and other stakeholder submissions and expert recommendations in relation to conditions to be attributed to the transitional Great Barrier Reef net fishery licence ('NX') until it expires on 30 June 2027.

The taskforce again considered the importance of Dugong Protection Areas as providing high-value habitat for dugongs and other threatened, endangered and protected species in the Great Barrier Reef. It also noted the contribution of these areas for commercial fishing and considered how to balance the impacts from gillnet fishing with the need to support viable fishing activities until 30 June 2027.

The need for a viable and continuing industry through the transition until all gillnetting in the Great Barrier Reef ends was noted as important, to provide time for adaptation of supply and support licence holders, employees and others indirectly impacted by the decision associated with phasing out gillnet fishing in the Great Barrier Reef.

The taskforce was appreciative of a detailed submission from the Queensland Seafood Industry Association, and noted its purpose was to provide the taskforce rationale, technical input and viable operational aspects to take account of, as they consider operating conditions for 'NX'. They considered this to be a useful resource to guide discussions and inform possible conditions going forward.

The taskforce supports regional aquaculture investment as a means to grow Queensland's sustainable seafood industry and supply to consumers. Aquaculture produce can deliver regional employment, contribute to local economies and coexist and complement seafood offerings from a wild harvest sector. The taskforce considers that ecologically and environmentally sustainable aquaculture is an important part of Queensland's future, but that dedicated and strategic investment is necessary to take advantage of this opportunity. While a fully considered strategy was considered beyond the current remit, the taskforce considers a whole-of-government approach is necessary to ensure Queensland can capitalise on the opportunities that a recognised best practice, sustainable industry operating adjacent to a World Heritage area can offer.

The taskforce noted that its deliberations are largely now complete, and the delivery of a report to Ministers Furner and Linard will represent the final step of their involvement. The chair thanked taskforce members and observers for their input. The taskforce report and recommendations will inform Ministers and the government as details of the structural adjustment package and associated matters are decided, announced, delivered and implemented over coming months.


  • John Tanzer (independent chair)
  • Senior representatives from the Queensland Government including:
    • Fisheries Queensland
    • Department of Environment and Science (Environment and Planning Policy/Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service)
    • Department of the Premier and Cabinet
    • Queensland Treasury
    • Queensland Rural Industry Development Authority (QRIDA).