Communique 5 December 2018

The Tropical Rock Lobster Fishery working group met for the third time in Cairns on the 5th 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 Tropical Rock Lobster Fishery. Working group members noted a tender will be released later this year to complete the work required in 2019.

The working group noted work conducted by Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol to verify wet vs dry weight changes in landed lobster. Industry members agreed to maintain the current temporary quota conversion factor and work with Fisheries Queensland to further verify a permanent conversion factor.

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 three different harvest strategy options and decided to use an assessment based harvest strategy to regularly set the total allowable commercial catch. Further work is required to refine the reference points and targets for the harvest strategy to be ready for the 2020 quota season.

The working group identified that a longer term assessment of the full east coast lobster stock would be desirable along with understanding the impacts of climate change on the distribution of the stock.

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

The next working group meeting is tentatively scheduled for April.

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