Communique 9–10 August 2023

The Cape York special fisheries working group (the working group) met for the first time on 9 and 10 August 2023.

The Principal Advisor (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships) and the Director-General from the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture opened the meeting and acknowledged elders, past present and emerging.

Working group members introduced themselves, outlining their backgrounds and connection to Cape York.

This meeting recognises and symbolises the importance of fishing to First Nations people on the Cape and the potential for greater economic benefits to communities.

Members noted that the Queensland Government has committed to establish a special fisheries working group for Cape York. This meeting of the group, a first for Queensland, aims to work closely with key stakeholders to identify new business opportunities through charter fisheries and tourism operations while ensuring sustainable fisheries are maintained for future generations.

The working group undertook a session to identify where we are at present and where we would like to be in the future. A number of challenges and opportunities were raised by the members with respect to our current and future state, in addition to the strengths that exist.

Members shared their knowledge and ideas with examples of success in other areas and disciplines.

The working group also took the opportunity to consider a broader range of economic initiatives related to fishing and fisheries resources.

Working group members prioritised the most important strategies to achieve a more prosperous First Nations fishing economy on the Cape.

The new working group is a non-statutory advisory body which provides advice that will be considered alongside advice and information from Fisheries Queensland, the Sustainable Fisheries Expert Panel and other Government agencies. The terms of reference for the group were noted.

Collectively this will inform decisions on the management of our fisheries and best practice fisheries management and implementation of the Queensland Sustainable Fisheries Strategy: 2017–2027.

It was noted the Queensland Government has set aside $200,000 for a Cape York Fisheries Economic Pathways Grants Program to be launched later this year.

The working group will next meet in November 2023.