Crab working group - Terms of reference

The Queensland Government is committed to ensuring fisheries resources are managed in a sustainable and responsible manner that recognises the interests of all Queenslanders. A key action of the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy is to improved stakeholder engagement through fishery-specific working groups.

Queensland’s Crab Fishery expands the East Coast and the Gulf of Carpentaria, with 412 licences attached to 347 separate commercial fishing boat licences and significant recreational take. In recent years the total commercial catch of mud crabs and blue swimmer crabs has remained around 1200 and 150 tonnes respectively. While both species have protections for female and undersized crabs, there are concerns about overcapacity in the fishery, competition between sectors and blackmarketing due to the value of the product.

Purpose of the Working Group

The Crab Fishery Working Group will provide advice on the operational aspects of the management of the Queensland Crab Fishery (Crab Fishery) which predominantly harvests mud crabs and blue swimmer crabs. The Queensland spanner crab is managed separately.


  1. To assist with the development of management options for the Crab Fishery consistent with the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy.
  2. To assist with the development of a harvest strategy for the Crab Fishery by the end of 2018.
  3. To provide advice to Fisheries Queensland on operational issues and management of Queensland’s Crab Fishery.


The role of working group members is to:

  • Provide operational advice to Fisheries Queensland on particular fisheries and fishing methods.
  • Assist with the development and implementation of harvest strategies.
  • Consider information and provide advice on fishery performance (e.g. catch rates, fishing power).
  • Provide advice on management actions or reforms needed to achieve the established management objectives for the fishery.
  • Assist with identifying ways to best manage broader ecosystem impacts of fishing.
  • Provide advice on emerging issues (e.g. compliance, data, legislation, research).
  • Assist with disseminating factual information back to other stakeholders in the fishery.

The role of Fisheries Queensland will be to:

  • Provide direction for working groups in the form of a Work Program (see below).
  • Arrange meeting times and provide logistical support for meetings.
  • Distribute meeting materials to support the effective operation of the working group.
  • Provide information and data to support the work of the working group.
  • Provide a point of communication between the working group and the Sustainable Fisheries Expert Panel.

Linkage with the Sustainable Fisheries Expert Panel (Expert Panel):

  • The Expert Panel will provide advice to Fisheries Queensland on priorities to help set the work program for the Crab Fishery Working Group.
  • As working groups develop management options and harvest strategies, this work will be reviewed by the Expert Panel. Based on this review, the Expert Panel may seek clarification and/or recommend further work or changes be undertaken by the Working Group.
  • The Expert Panel may seek other advice from the working group about the Crab Fishery as requested.


The operation of the working group will consist of regular meetings both in person and by teleconference. Fisheries Queensland will prepare the agenda and supporting documents seven days ahead of each meeting and chair each meeting.

Within reason, out-of-session advice and review of documents may be required.

Obligations and responsibilities of members

Being a member has important obligations and responsibilities. In accepting the appointment, members must be prepared to:

  1. Contribute knowledge of and experience in Queensland’s fisheries.
  2. If requested, consult with stakeholder peers through port-level associations, regional associations, peak industry bodies and other avenues as necessary and ensure stakeholder views are considered in working group discussions.
  3. Constructively participate in discussions to achieve acceptable outcomes.
  4. Respect the views expressed by other members.
  5. Act in the best interests of fishery as a whole, rather than as an advocate for any particular individual, organisation, interest group or regional interest.
  6. Avoid pursuing personal agendas or self-interest, and participate in discussion in an objective and impartial manner.
  7. Promptly advise of any conflict of interest issues that arise subsequent to appointment. Conflict of interest issues should be communicated as soon as they arise, by writing to the Chair.

Confidentiality and non-disclosure

Some information that is sensitive in nature is provided to working group members to enable them to provide the best advice to Fisheries Queensland on the specific fishery. Given this, members are also asked to:

  • Observe confidentiality and exercise tact and discretion when dealing with sensitive issues. If a member is unsure or concerned about the disclosure to non-members, the member should seek advice from the Chair.
  • At all times act honestly, exercise care and diligence in the discharge of their duties and not make improper use of working group information. Improper use would be where a member gains an advantage either directly or indirectly (financial or otherwise) over another person or causes detriment to the working group’s work or to another person.
  • Not publish or communicate to any person, who they are not authorised to publish or communicate to, any information that comes to their knowledge or possession because they are a member of the working group.

Sitting fees

Participation on the working groups will be on a voluntary basis. No sitting fees will be paid.

Meetings and Travel costs

Members are eligible to be reimbursed for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses including domestic travel and accommodation costs.


Fisheries Queensland will appoint members. Membership will be refreshed every two years to allow for rotation of different representatives and development of new industry leaders.

The composition of the working group is outlined in the table below:

Mark Doohan Fisheries Queensland (Chair)
Ben Day Commercial Fisher
Peter Jackson Commercial Fisher
Anne Tooker Commercial Fisher
Keith Harris Commercial Fisher
David Bateman Recreational Fisher
George Bennetts Recreational Fisher
Michael DetenonRecreational Fisher
James Aumend Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
Simon BarryFishery Manager, Fisheries Queensland 
Sian BreenPrincipal Fishery Manager, Fisheries Queensland
Robert McDonaldQBFP - Compliance