Communique 13-14 November 2018

The Marine Aquarium Fish and Queensland Coral Fisheries working group met for the third time in Townsville on the 13th and 14th of November.

The working group noted the progress of the meeting action items. An update of the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy (the Strategy) was provided, including a summary of the Year 1 progress report.

Fisheries Queensland provided information on the socio-economic data collection project as part of the Strategy and discussed a shortlist of social and economic indicator groups that might be applicable to the Marine Aquarium Fish and Queensland Coral fisheries. Working group members noted a tender will be released later this to complete the work required in 2019. Industry identified the need to better understand the public perception of their fisheries.

Fisheries Queensland provided a summary of the current management framework and rules for both fisheries and discussed with the working group possible future management arrangements. Industry highlighted the importance of workplace health and safety requirements when reviewing fishing rules.

The working group reviewed the draft harvest strategy and further developed performance indicators, reference points and decision rules for each of the operational management objectives. Members discussed the use of average catch history rather than catch rates and catch per unit effort as indicators to inform decision rules due to fishery market drivers and fishing harvest practises. Members recognised that industry needs to develop field surveys to inform abundance on key species and implementation of the tiered harvest strategy. In doing this industry identified the need to review catch reporting.

All working group members acknowledged the importance of integrating the harvest strategy, industries Stewardship Action Plan and the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority’s incident response plan to respond to environmental incidents in a timely and appropriate manner.

The working group also discussed simplifying the quota composition to accurately reflect the fishery and this is to be supported by more species level reporting. Members discussed vessel tracking and the enhancement it will provide to compliance and is supportive of early adoption to improve confidence in the fishery.

The working group was concluded with a discussion around the next steps that include harvest strategy workshops with the Marine Aquarium Fish and Queensland Coral Fishery in early 2019.

The next working group meeting is tentatively scheduled for February.

The Marine Aquarium Fish and Queensland Coral Fisheries Working Group members are: Fisheries Queensland (Chair- Kimberly Foster), commercial fishing (Darren Brighton, Alan Cousland, Alexander Doll, Ryan Donnelly, Nicholas Dos Santos, Daniel Kimberly, Robert Lowe (apology), Ros Paterson, Lyle Squire(apology), science (Morgan Pratchett) and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (Randall Owens).