Communique 16–17 May 2023

The Freshwater Fisheries Working Group met for the fourth time on 16 and 17 May 2023. The Chair welcomed and outlined the objectives of the meeting. Members gave an update from their respective sectors and/or regions. Members noted a significant increase in pest fish following recent weather events. Members raised concern about lack of fish passage in a number of areas. Fisheries Queensland provided a general update on freshwater, women in recreational fishing, aquaculture and compliance activities.

The working group noted issues for discussion and provided feedback regarding the hatchery accreditation policy and the broodstock policy. The key principles in the early draft hatchery accreditation policy were noted. The working group feedback suggests that maintaining genetic diversity is important and should be key in both policies.

The working group noted the current management arrangements for non-indigenous fish and discussed potential clarifications for further consideration by Fisheries Queensland. It was noted there was some confusion in interpreting current arrangements for non-indigenous fish. It was recommended that Fisheries Queensland update the Regulations regarding three key species (sleepy cod, barred grunter, sooty grunter) in line with the approach previously taken with redclaw. Clear communication is essential and clarifying boundary lines will assist with this. The working group discussed the merit that a licence for all Queensland waters could offer to improve funding in the future, but noted that this is not a policy approach currently being considered by the Queensland government.

Biosecurity Queensland (BQ) provided a general update on the progression of pest fish management and current issues. The working group noted the collaborative approach that is currently being adopted by BQ and was well received.

The working group noted issues for discussion and provided feedback to further develop the concept of promoting native fish in aquariums. Graeme Finsen from Australia New Guinea Fishers Association (ANGFA) presented on the objectives of ANGFA and the outreach work they are involved in, in conserving and promoting Australian native fish.

The working group discussed potential research priorities for further consideration by Fisheries Queensland. The main topics considered were threatened species, optimising aquaculture production of certain species, integrated stocking strategies, climate change, fish kills and pest fish. DAF will develop a structured research strategy for consideration of the working group.

The working group discussed the role of volunteer stocking groups in fisheries management. It was noted that the viability of stocking groups and how achieving objectives is becoming more difficult due to increased costs and responsibilities, with a lack of resourcing. The working group recommended that Fisheries Queensland review the current model of delivery for the stocking program to determine what improvements can be made.

The working group discussed how to fully integrate new species (mangrove jack, jungle perch, mullet and trevally) into a stocking program. Issues discussed included overcoming the expense of transitioning to industry uptake of new species, initiating a trial of stocking the species, developing production processes and markets. Fisheries Queensland will undertake internal consultation on potential funding and resourcing mechanisms, and report back to the working group.

The next working group will be held October 2023 with new working group members. Fisheries Queensland thanks the current working group members for their positive contribution.

Freshwater Fisheries Working Group members present

  • Peter Kind (Chair, Fisheries Queensland)
  • Thomas Hart (Freshwater Fisheries Manager)
  • Christelle Legrand (Freshwater Fisheries Officer)
  • Tim Lucas (Senior Fisheries Manager)
  • Andrew Norris (Agri Science Queensland)
  • Hayden Ferguson (Biosecurity Queensland)
  • David Roberts (Seqwater)
  • Chris Delamont (Sunwater)
  • Ian Leighton (Fish Stocking)
  • Joe Legrady (Fish Stocking)
  • Ross Williamson (Recreational Fishing)
  • Peter Delaforce (Recreational Fishing)
  • Craig Cluff (Aquaculture)
  • Merilyn Thomas (Conservation)
  • Pest Fish (Nicole Whysall)
  • Greg Ringwood (Murray Darling Basin Authority)
  • Paul Kuhn (QBFP)


  • Stephan Gabas (Science and Research)
  • Garry Fitzgerald (Fish Stocking)
  • Bruce Sambell (Aquaculture)
  • Kaidon Anderson (Recreational Fishing)
  • Chris Joseph (Water use and Community)
  • Tanya Kirkegaard (Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island Communities)
  • John Dexter (Fisheries Queensland)