Communique 16-17 July 2018

The Tropical Rock Lobster Fishery working group met for the second time in Cairns on the 16 and 17 of July.

The working group accepted the previous meeting minutes and noted progress on the meeting action items. Fisheries Queensland provided an update of the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy (the Strategy) and reported on feedback received on the proposed Fisheries Act amendments. The working group was updated on how the future legislation review will affect the Tropical Rock Lobster Fishery.

The working group noted the fishery management objectives developed at the previous meeting and endorsed out of session, noting the objectives will be refined as the harvest strategy is developed.

Working group members noted the release of the harvest fisheries discussion paper and provided comments on the key issues such as aligning commercial harvest fishing licences with commercial boat fishing licences, standardising quota management across all harvest fisheries and simplifying input control rules. Some key issues to work through are tender distance rules and providing a consistent recreational possession limit across all Queensland waters. The working group also discussed changes to the recreational fishing rules to allow the use of a loop which would reduce mortality of undersized and reproductive female lobster. Industry identified the importance of workplace health and safety requirements when reviewing fishing rules. Industry have agreed to provide Fisheries Queensland with a formal submission.

The working group reviewed the existing Performance Measurement System to inform appropriate indicators, reference points, triggers and decision rules for the development of the harvest strategy.

The working group identified an action plan to progress the development of the harvest strategy and address knowledge gaps and monitoring and assessment needs. Industry has agreed to invest in the analysis of catch, age and size data that is available to inform an assessment of the stock within the existing fishery area. This will also inform suitable harvest strategy indicators and reference points and to support moving to a dynamic total allowable commercial catch if possible.

The working group was concluded with a discussion around the next steps that need to be taken for transitioning the Tropical Rock Lobster Fishery to a harvest strategy framework. Industry has agreed to provide some additional data review out of session to support the harvest strategy development and Fisheries Queensland will build an initial draft out of session.

The next working group meeting is tentatively scheduled for December.

The Tropical Rock Lobster Fishery Working Group members are: Fisheries Queensland (Chair- Kimberly Foster), commercial fishing (Mark Dean (apology), Ean White, Brett Arlidge), recreational fishing (Kim Andersen), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Kenny Bedford), science (Clive Turnbull) and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (Randall Owens).