Vessel tracking working group terms of reference

Background

Vessel tracking technology was mandated for all major commercial fisheries across 2019 and 2020 as an action of the Queensland Sustainable Fisheries Strategy: 2017–2027. Vessel tracking helps Fisheries Queensland carry out real-time monitoring of the commercial fishing fleet for management and compliance purposes. Data from vessel tracking is used to:

  • monitor quota in near real time (e.g. deducting fishing days from individual’s quota)
  • monitor compliance with area and seasonal closures (including marine park zones)
  • provide intelligence and evidence for investigations
  • help validate logbook data on where and when fishing occurred
  • provide fishing effort data that is used in stock assessments to estimate the biomass of a fish stock
  • help inform fishery management changes that may be needed.

Fisheries Queensland has been using vessel tracking since 1996 as part of ongoing management of several fisheries within Queensland, including the east coast trawl fleet and beche-de-mer fishery, as well as some net fisheries. The roll out of vessel tracking to the remaining net, line, crab, harvest and trawl fisheries was staged across 2019 and 2020, and has been completed for all commercial fisheries. Vessel tracking is proposed to be a requirement for charter fishing boats in the future.

Fisheries Queensland previously committed to undertake a post-implementation review of of vessel tracking. Following numerous complaints from commercial fishers in 2019, an investigation was undertaken by the Queensland Ombudsman on the administration of vessel tracking. In response to this review, Fisheries Queensland has committed to expanding the post-implementation review to address the Ombudsman's preliminary observations.

In achieving this outcome, Fisheries Queensland has committed to implement consultation arrangements to assist in improving the administration of vessel tracking, with a strong focus on providing a broad range of opportunities for engagement and greater transparency and accountability in decision-making.

Purpose of the working group

The working group provides operational advice and recommendations to support the review undertaken by Fisheries Queensland on the management, implementation and administration of vessel tracking across commercial fisheries.

Please note: The working group is a non-statutory advisory body. It is not a decision-making body.

Objectives

To provide operational advice and recommendations to:

  1. support the review of the implementation of vessel tracking
  2. support the review of the effectiveness of the current administration of vessel tracking
  3. provide options and advice to improve the ongoing management and administration of vessel tracking.

Working group roles

The role of working group members is to:

  • provide advice to assist Fisheries Queensland in the review of the implementation and administration of vessel tracking in the following areas
    • safety concerns about vessel tracking units and installations
    • vessel tracking unit and provider selection process
    • performance management of vessel tracking units and providers
    • confirmation methods to check vessel tracking units are operational
    • compliance approach
    • vessel tracking data security
    • complaint handling
    • communication with industry
  • assist with identifying ways to improve management and administration of vessel tracking
  • provide advice to Fisheries Queensland on any vessel tracking administrative changes or new initiatives prior to implementation – examples include
    • implementation of a commercial app to assist with manual reporting of positions when vessel tracking units malfunction at sea
    • addition or removal of approved vessel tracking units or providers
  • provide advice to Fisheries Queensland on vessel tracking requirements for the charter fishing industry
  • provide advice on emerging vessel tracking operational issues
  • assist with disseminating factual information back to other stakeholders in the commercial fisheries.

The role of Fisheries Queensland is to:

  • provide direction for working groups in the form of a work plan
  • arrange meeting times and provide logistical support for meetings
  • prepare and distribute meeting materials to support the effective operation of the working group
  • provide information and data to support the work of the working group
  • maintain regular communication with the working group members (at least every three months)
  • conduct broader consultation with commercial fishers if required
  • establish and maintain a public engagement portal web page to publish regular progress updates on actions taken in response to the review.

Obligations and responsibilities of members

Being a working group member has important obligations and responsibilities. In accepting the appointment, members must be prepared to:

  1. contribute knowledge of, and experience in, Queensland’s fisheries
  2. consult with stakeholder peers through port-level or regional associations and networks, representative bodies and other avenues as necessary to ensure as many stakeholder views as possible are considered as part of working group discussions – members will be asked to report on broader views, not just their view as a member, including how the feedback was gathered and who it represents
  3. constructively participate in discussions to achieve acceptable outcomes
  4. respect the views expressed by other members
  5. act in the best interests of their fishery as a whole, rather than as an advocate for any particular individual, organisation, interest group or regional interest
  6. avoid pursuing personal agendas or self-interest, and participate in discussion in an objective and impartial manner
  7. promptly advise the Chair in writing (or announce at the start of a meeting) of any conflict-of-interest issues that arise, including those that may be perceived by others or have the potential be a conflict, subsequent to appointment
  8. conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with the Queensland community’s expectations for reasonable conduct at all times – this requires a commitment to honest, fair and respectful engagement, including showing respect towards all persons involved in working group business.

Unreasonable behaviour will not be tolerated. An appointed member may be removed from a meeting, or in the case of serious and/or repetitive conduct, removed from the working group if their conduct is contrary to the role, obligations or responsibilities as a working group member.

In either circumstance, the appointed Chair will provide a verbal warning if unreasonable behaviour is displayed at a meeting. Following this, the Chair has discretion to remove a person from the meeting. A record should be made in the meeting notes. If the unreasonable behaviour is displayed at a number of meetings and/or associated with working group business outside a meeting, the appointed Chair will write to the member to provide an opportunity to remedy the behaviour. If there is no change in behaviour or remedy, the Chair will refer the matter to the Executive Director (Fisheries) for formal review of the member’s membership.

What is unreasonable behaviour?

Unreasonable behaviour includes abusive, threatening and other behaviours that may also become ‘unreasonable’ when, because of its nature or frequency, it raises health, safety, resource or equity issues for those participating in the working group or others engaging with working group business.

Abusive behaviour is defined as directed at the individual, including foul, racist, sexist or demeaning language. Aggressive behaviour includes angry outbursts, which although not directly or explicitly threatening, are in an intimidating tone or intensity. Threatening behaviour is specific or explicit statements that a reasonable person would interpret as a real and serious communication of an intent to inflict harm on the person receiving the call or another person, or employees of the organisation in general, or to inflict damage or take other hostile action against departmental or meeting location property.

Other actions or behaviours which may, depending on the circumstances, be considered unreasonable conduct include unrelenting/ repetitive contact (excessive contact, refusing to accept an outcome, lodging the same claim over again), demanding conduct (demanding a different outcome, demanding impossible, impractical disproportionate outcomes), unreasonable lack of cooperation (withholding or providing incomplete information, intentionally providing overwhelming volumes of information) and unreasonable arguments (argumentative or irrational conduct, conspiracy allegations, making vexatious complaints).

Meeting administration

Operation

The operation of the working group will consist of regular meetings via online meeting platforms (i.e. Teams), or in person where resources allow.

Fisheries Queensland will endeavour to prepare the meeting agenda and supporting documents 7 days ahead of each meeting. Review of these documents will be required prior to the meeting in order to participate effectively.

The appointed Chair will manage the meeting according to the agenda, review status of action items from previous meetings, ensure a summary and actions for each agenda item are recorded and a communique for the meeting is prepared. The Chair will also address any conflicts of interest and manage the conduct of all members and observers present at the meeting.

Fisheries Queensland will endeavour to prepare and circulate the Communique for feedback from the working group members within 7 days of the meeting. Confirmed communique will then be published online. Fisheries Queensland will endeavour to prepare meeting notes and circulate them to members within 7 days of the meeting. Where required, action items will be followed up by Fisheries Queensland to seek to resolve them and any operational issues tabled by the working group ahead of the following meeting.

Sensitive information and non-disclosure

In general industry members are encouraged to share information and consult with their peers and networks to assist the Working Group to appreciate and understand a range of industry and stakeholder views.

However, it is recognised that some sensitive information may at times be shared by Fisheries Queensland with working group members.  In these cases, this information needs to be handled by members with discretion.  When this occurs, Fisheries Queensland will make Working Group members aware, so that they are able to respect the need for properly maintaining information that is sensitive.

Declaration of interest

Members are to consider carefully all the items included in a meeting agenda and identify any matter in which they have, may have, or may be perceived to have a direct or indirect interest. Members are encouraged to declare any interest to the Chair, no matter how minor they consider the interest to be, so that their involvement in the consideration of the agenda item can be determined openly and transparently.

Declaration of interests will be a standing agenda item for all working group meetings. Each meeting agenda will include a Declarations of Interest item to ensure all participants are aware and reminded of the interests of various participants and to ensure they are managed responsibly. The Chair will ask the members present to declare any interests prior to the business of the meeting commencing.

Sitting fees

Participation on the working group is on a voluntary basis – no sitting fees will be paid.

Travel costs

Members are eligible to be reimbursed for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses, including domestic travel and accommodation costs.

Membership of the working group

Fisheries Queensland appoints members to working groups. Unless notified and agreed, membership will be refreshed every two years to allow for rotation of different representatives and development of new industry leaders.

The current appointed members of the working group are:

NameRepresentativeSector
1 Anne Barclay Chair Independent Chair
2 Graeme Bolton Deputy Director-General Fisheries Management
(Fisheries Queensland)
3 Jacqui King Executive Director
4 Lissy Manning A/Director, Reporting, Information and Digital Solutions
5 Mick Smith A/Manager, Reporting and Information
6 Yoon Kok A/Principal Fisheries Resource Officer, Reporting
7 Aishah Osman Technical Officer, Quota and Vessel Tracking Unit
8 Warren Egling Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol
9 Andrew Cox Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Environment
10 Alex Campbell Fisheries Scientist (Fisheries Queensland) Science
11 Mark Cook Commercial fisher – crab fishery Industry
12 Michelle Jensen Commercial fisher – crab fishery
13 Benjamin Day Commercial fisher - Gulf of Carpentaria
14 Ross Casey Commercial fisher - Gulf of Carpentaria
15 Darren Brighton Commercial fisher – harvest fishery
16 Bruce Batch Commercial fisher – net fishery
17 Jake Kingdon Commercial fisher – reef line fishery
18 James Forster Commercial fisher – reef line fishery
19 Sean Stiff Commercial fisher – reef line fishery
20 To be advised Commercial fisher – rocky reef fishery
21 Michael Wood Commercial fisher – trawl fishery
22 To be advisedCommercial fisher – trawl fishery
23 Geoffrey Diver Commercial fisher
24 Eric Perez Industry associations
As required To be advised Vessel tracking providers Observers
As required To be advised Australian Fisheries Management Authority and other fisheries management jurisdictions
As required To be advised Vessel tracking installers/technicians
As required To be advised Department of Environment and Science
As required To be advised Fisheries Scientist (Animal Science Queensland)