Moreton Bay Region Harvest Strategy Workshop 9 September 2022

The Moreton Bay harvest strategy workshop was held in Shorncliffe on 9 September 2022. Workshop participants discussed current issues and future management ideas for the fishery. 

The Terms of Reference, Wildlife Trade Operation (WTO) conditions, and effort use in the region were noted. The workshop participants raised a number of issues including logbook reporting, upcoming stock assessments, issues with historical effort allocation and a proposed bycatch retention policy.

Industry members expressed concerns that the workshop agenda and papers were not sent out 2 weeks before the meeting. Fisheries Queensland (FQ) also confirmed that the communique is drafted with the members during the workshop and is not changed after the workshop. FQ committed to providing meeting minutes within one week after the workshop. 

FQ advised that they will be seeking industry representation for participating in steering committees that oversee trawl fishery stock assessments. FQ also noted that they can provide a presentation to workshop participants explaining how recruitment surveys are conducted, out of session.

Industry members noted that long delays in logbook processing meant that catch and licence data provided by FQ did not reflect fishing activity in the region. FQ noted they can organise a time for staff to attend ports in the Moreton Bay region to explain the eFisher app. Industry members requested that industry participate in the redesign of logbooks.

FQ presented on WTO conditions and noted that they can request that the Commonwealth Government provide WTO conditions for each region, which would take into account that there is no export of prawns from the Moreton Bay region. The workshop discussed options for improving communication with industry stakeholders, and recommended further meetings or port visits. 

The workshop participants discussed draft guidelines for assessment for proposals to retain bycatch species. 

Industry members expressed support for a government-led by-back scheme for the fishery. Industry also supported a change for effort unit holdings to be renewed from 1 November each year instead of 1 January. Industry also proposed that FQ pay for VMS data. 

Workshop participants agreed to work with FQ over the next 12 months to review and improve the current harvest strategy. Other issues raised included concerns about the impact of cast netting in the region and interest in allowing M2 symbols to be written on T1 licences, similar to the M1/T1 licence.