Frequently asked questions
How does the expert panel fit into the government's reform program?
The Sustainable Fisheries Strategy sets out the government’s reform agenda for the next ten years. Through ten reform areas, the Strategy will deliver a more modern, responsive and consultative approach to fisheries management.
The Strategy includes improved stakeholder engagement through establishment of a Sustainable Fisheries Expert Panel and a series of Working Groups on specific fishery issues.
Why is an expert panel needed?
The Sustainable Fisheries Strategy commits to improving consultation and engagement mechanisms. A key action is establishment of an expert panel to provide independent expert advice to the Minister responsible for fisheries on best practice fisheries management and implementation of the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy.
Independent expert advice will increase confidence that decisions are defensible, best practice, and evidence-based. The proposed expert panel will provide an important forum to peer review fisheries monitoring and research, review harvest strategies for each of Queensland’s fisheries and provide advice on reform options. Independent expert advice will assist the Minister and Department in making evidence-based decisions and help cut through often contentious issues between stakeholders.
Does the expert panel replace an existing or previous advisory body?
No. The expert panel is a new body. No equivalent has been in place previously.
What is the role of the expert panel?
The Sustainable Fisheries Expert Panel will provide independent advice to the government to promote best practice fisheries management and evidence-based decision-making. More specifically, its role is to:
- provide strategic and expert advice to the responsible minister on best practice fisheries management
- provide a forum to technically review stock assessments, ecological risk assessments and fishery performance
- review harvest strategies and advise whether they meet the objectives of the Strategy
- provide linkages and advice to other relevant strategic advisory groups (e.g. Reef 2050 Advisory Committee).
Does the expert panel have any decision-making powers?
No. The expert panel is advisory only. It is non-statutory and will have no decision-making powers.
How was the expert panel chosen?
Members must have the skills and expertise to provide technical advice on best practice fisheries management and evidence-based decision-making. In particular, they must be able to technically review stock assessments, ecological risk assessments and fishery performance, and to advise whether harvest strategies are meeting their objectives and guidelines.
Therefore members were selected based on their expertise in stock assessment, fish biology, fisheries management, resource allocation, threatened species management, economics and social science.
With the exception of the chair, all candidates are independent of the Queensland government. This is important to ensure the independent nature of the advice provided to government to underpin sustainable fisheries management decisions.
Is the expert panel representative of all fisheries-related stakeholders?
The expert panel is not intended to represent different stakeholder groups. The expert panel will provide technical expertise on various aspects of fisheries management.
Fishery-specific working groups, which will also be established under the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy, will be representative of the stakeholders relevant to each fishery. This may include recreational, commercial and indigenous fishers as well as conservation interests, tourism, seafood marketing and bait and tackle retailers.
What is the relationship between the expert panel and the fishery working groups?
Fishery-specific working groups will provide advice on the operational aspects of a particular fishery and developing management options and harvest strategies. Fisheries Queensland will establish these working groups and will set their work program.
The expert panel will review key outputs from the working groups, such as harvest strategies. The expert panel will provide independent expert advice to the Minister and Fisheries Queensland on the appropriateness and feasibility of fisheries management proposals and strategies including options to improve management.
Who does the expert panel report to?
The expert panel will report to the Minister responsible for fisheries.
Will the expert panel members be paid, and if so how much?
Members will be paid sitting fees and will be reimbursed for reasonable travel expenses, in accordance with the Remuneration of Part-time Chairs and Members of Government Boards, Committees and Statutory Authorities. The applicable rate for members is $300 per day.
The Chair and two other members who are employed by the public sector (i.e. CSIRO) will not be remunerated.
The expert panel is estimated to cost up to $40,000 each year. Funding to support the expert panel has been approved by government as part of the $20 million to implement the Strategy.
How long is the appointment period for panel members?
The expert panel is appointed for a period of three years commencing from the date of Ministerial appointment.
A review will be undertaken every three years in accordance with the Whole-of-Government review of boards, committees and statutory entities undertaken by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet.
How soon will the expert panel meet?
The first meeting of the expert panel is proposed for August 2017.
The Sustainable Fisheries Strategy outlines the reform and development of harvest strategies are priority for the net, trawl and crab fisheries. The expert panel will be reviewing the work of the fishery-specific working groups and Fisheries Queensland on these actions.
How often will the expert panel meet?
The expert panel will meet around 4 times per year. Within reason, out-of-session advice and review of documents may be required.
Does the expert panel reflect the government's target of 50% women membership?
Yes, four out of the eight members are women, including the independent Chair. The proposed appointments to the expert panel meet the Queensland Government’s Toward Gender Parity target that 50% of all new board appointees to Queensland Government bodies must be women.
What if the Government or the Department disagrees with the expert panel recommendations?
The expert panel will be an important part of the information inputs to fisheries reform. However, the government and Fisheries Queensland are the responsible decision makers and their advice will not be the only source of information.
Other inputs will include fishery-specific working groups, engagement with the broader community, fisheries monitoring and research, and ongoing advice from other government agencies. Resourcing requirements and practical considerations must also be taken into account.
Decision-makers will consider the best available information to determine the most appropriate course of action.