Fisheries Queensland has concern about the sustainability of black jewfish given the significant increase in the catch over the last 12-18 months and risk of black-marketing as a result of the extremely high market prices for their swim bladder.
Black jewfish are vulnerable to overfishing and stock collapses have been documented previously in Australia and overseas. The Northern Territory has already introduced management controls, including swim bladder tagging, to protect black jewfish.
Fisheries Queensland anticipates that demand for swim bladders will continue and management action is required to protect this fisheries resource from over-fishing while ensuring the long-term economic viability of a valuable export product.
Initial consultation with the East Coast Inshore Working Group and the Sustainable Fisheries Expert Panel has been undertaken. Communiques are available online. Fisheries Queensland are seeking additional feedback through public consultation on the following management changes to the Fisheries Regulation 2008:
- Introduce a precautionary Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) of 20 tonnes on the East Coast and 2 tonne TACC for the Gulf of Carpentaria based on long-term commercial catch averages, with compulsory catch reporting on landing for commercial fishers;
- Reduce the recreational in-possession limit from 2 to 1; and
- Introduce a requirement for black jewfish to be landed whole by all sectors.
Given the sustainability concerns, urgent management changes are being progressed ahead of implementation of the broader reforms for the East Coast inshore fishery under the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy in 2019.
An online survey regarding the changed management proposals will be open for comment until 13 December 2018.