Communique 8 May 2019

The Stocked Impoundment Permit Scheme Working Group met for its annual meeting in Brisbane on the 8th of May 2019.

Role of the SIPS Working Group: The SIPS Working Group provide advice to Fisheries Queensland on the guidelines and funding associated with the Stocked Impoundment Scheme (SIPS). The working group also provide advice on potential future enhancement to SIPS. The working group is a non-statutory advisory body. It is not a decision-making body.

Fisheries Queensland provided the working group an update on progress with implementation of actions identified in the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy (SFS) and other recent fisheries management changes.

Fisheries Queensland provided an update on freshwater fisheries management including pest fish, promotion of SIPS, SIPS permit sales channels, the SIPS webpage, fish attracting structure trials and recent fish kills. Members also provided an update on key issues impacting their stocking regions.

An update was provided on the outcomes of the Freshwater Fishing and Fish Stocking Workshop held in November 2018 including, progress on the development of a stocking action plan and stocking policy. Key elements of the stocking action plan includes development of a stocking policy, a cost effective monitoring plan, compliance, promotion, review of freshwater fishing rules and regulations and extension and support for fish stocking groups. The action plan and stocking policy is scheduled to be released for consultation mid this year. The working group supported holding further Freshwater Fishing and Fish Stocking workshops every two years.

The working group noted a number of proposed changes to the fisheries regulations relating to Mary River cod, Murray cod, non-indigenous fish and process for adding and removing SIPS impoundments. Consultation on proposed changes will occur later this year.

Fisheries Queensland provided the working group with an update on the SIPS acquittals received and outstanding acquittals for the 2018 Grant. The working group noted a number of carry over applications which were all supported.

Fisheries Queensland advised that a survey of SIPS permit holders was conducted in April 2019 to gain a better understanding of SIPS dams and weirs fished, catch and fishing behaviour. Over 5,500 permit holders completed the short survey. It was noted that future surveys should include a validation process to ensure only permit holders can take part in the survey. The survey results were incorporated into the allocation formula for the 2019 SIPS grants.

The working group looked at a number of allocation models for the 2019 grants. After discussion the majority of the working group supported applying last year’s allocation formula with 50% of funds allocated by surface area capped at 4,000 hectares maximum with available fishing area and the remaining 50% of funds allocated by the SIPS permit holder participation rate at dams and weirs. It also continues the minimum $500 allocation and the maximum of 70% of total stocking allocation from SIPS.

The working group discussed the two applications for disaster recovery funding which were both supported. The working group also identified a need to further refine the guideline for disaster recovery funding to ensure it only applies to extreme fish kills or fish loss with supporting evidence.

In line with the Expenditure of SIPS funds for Community Engagement Guideline, the working group supported funding for the Freshwater Fishing and Stocking Association of Queensland (FFSAQ) to continue to provide education on freshwater fishing, stocking and pest fish. The working group recommended FFSAQ apply for further funding to include travel to events in Central and Northern Queensland.

Fisheries Queensland gave an update on the draft monitoring plan for freshwater including the new Impoundment Boat Ramp Surveys that are about to commence throughout the state and discussed further monitoring opportunities for our impoundment fisheries. The working group welcomed this project and the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the catch and fishing behaviour at SIPS impoundments including catch rates, species composition, length of fish retained and fishing effort at impoundments. Incentives for stocking groups to participate in the survey were discussed, including an option for some money to be provided to groups to cover the travel costs associated with conducting the surveys.

One of the members provided a presentation to the working group on the monitoring being undertaken on North Pine Dam.

The SIPS Working Group members are: Kimberly Foster (Chair, Fisheries Queensland), Steve Brooks (Representative, Fisheries Queensland), Daniel Smith (Representative, Fisheries Queensland), Charlie Ladd (Delegate, Freshwater Fishing and Stocking Association of Queensland) Joe Legrady (Delegate, Freshwater Fishing and Stocking Association of Queensland), Garry Fitzgerald (Member, South East), Noel Frost (Member, South East.), Bob Reid (Member, Murray Darling), Greg Green (Member, Burnett), Daryl Cupitt (Member, Central), Terry McGeachin (Member, Northern), Ian Leighton (Member, Northern).