Communique 6 December 2018

The Sea Cucumber Fishery working group met for the third time in Cairns on the 6th of December.

The working group accepted the previous meeting minutes and 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 an update 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 Sea Cucumber Fishery. Working group members noted a tender will be released later this year to complete the work required in 2019.

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 different harvest strategy options and is looking into an assessment based harvest strategy to manage the harvest of sea cucumber. Further work is required to refine the reference points, targets and assessment needs for the harvest strategy to be ready for the 2019/2020 quota season.

Fisheries Queensland is looking at options to allow precautionary access to black teatfish stocks for the upcoming quota season, based on advice from the Expert Panel that stocks had recovered to a state where sustainable levels of fishing pressure could cautiously be applied.

The working group was concluded with a discussion around the next steps needed to finalise the harvest strategy for the Sea Cucumber fishery, ready for public consultation in 2019.

The next working group meeting is tentatively scheduled for March/April.

The Sea Cucumber Fishery Working Group members are: Fisheries Queensland (Chair- Kimberly Foster), commercial fishing (Chauncey Hammond, Rob Lowden, Rhys Bennett (apology), Ben Cochrane, science (Timothy Skewes) and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (Randall Owens).