Tropical rock lobster fishery working group - Terms of reference

Background

The Queensland Government is committed to ensuring fisheries resources are managed in a sustainable and responsible manner that recognises the interests of all Queenslanders. A key action of the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy is to improved stakeholder engagement through fishery-specific working groups.

Queensland’s East Coast Tropical Rock Lobster (TRL) fishery is a harvest fishery for both commercial and recreational fishers. The commercial sector consists of a small number of quota holders targeting the high value Panulirus ornatus species. The commercial fishery ('R' symbol) comprises of all tidal waters north from Princess Charlotte Bay to Torres Strait as well as tidal waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria (referred to as Northern rock lobster regulated waters).  Northern rock lobster regulated waters are closed to all take of TRL between October and December. The recreational fishery differs from the commercial fishery in that it covers all Queensland waters. Divers collect bottom-dwelling lobsters by hand using small tender boats, hence impacts on non-target species and habitats are negligible. The commercial fishery is currently managed by individual transferable quota, based on a fixed total allowable catch (TAC) set after the last stock assessment in 2009. A priority is to establish a harvest strategy to define assessment and monitoring methods, allow an adjustable TAC, and assist in seeking accreditation of Commonwealth approvals.

Purpose of the Working Group

The TRL Working Group will provide advice on the operational aspects of the management of the Queensland’s TRL fishery.

Objectives

  1. To assist with the development of a harvest strategy for the TRL Fishery by the end of 2020,
  2. To review the commercial quota for TRL,
  3. To provide advice to Fisheries Queensland on operational issues and management of Queensland’s TRL Fishery.

Role

The role of working group members is to:

  • Provide operational advice to Fisheries Queensland on a particular fishery
  • Assist with the development and implementation of harvest strategies
  • Consider information and provide advice on fishery performance (e.g catch rates, fishing power)
  • Provide advice on management actions or reforms needed to achieve the established management objectives for the fishery
  • Assist with identifying ways to best manage broader ecosystem impacts of fishing
  • Provide advice on emerging issues (e.g compliance, data, legislation)
  • Assist with disseminating factual information back to other stakeholders in the fishery

The role of Fisheries Queensland will be to:

  • Provide direction for working groups in the form of a Work Program
  • Arrange meeting times and provide logistical support for meetings
  • Distribute meeting materials to support the effective operation of the working group
  • Provide information and data to support the work of the working group
  • Provide a point of communication between the working group and the Sustainable Fisheries Expert Panel.

Operation

The operation of the working group will consist of regular meetings both in person and by teleconference.  Fisheries Queensland will prepare the agenda and supporting documents seven (7) days ahead of each meeting and chair each meeting.

Within reason, out-of-session advice and review of documents may be required.  

Obligations and responsibilities of members

Being a 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. If requested, consult with stakeholder peers through port-level associations, regional associations, peak industry bodies and other avenues as necessary and ensure stakeholder views are considered in working group discussions
  3. Constructively participate in discussions to achieve acceptable outcomes.
  4. Respect the views expressed by other members.
  5. Act in the best interests of 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 of any conflict of interest issues that arise subsequent to appointment. Conflict of interest issues should be communicated as soon as they arise, by writing to the Chair.

Confidentiality and non-disclosure

Some information that is sensitive in nature is provided to working group members to enable them to provide the best advice to Fisheries Queensland on the specific fishery.  Given this, members are also asked to:

  • Observe confidentiality and exercise tact and discretion when dealing with sensitive issues. If a member is unsure or concerned about the disclosure to non-members, the member should seek advice from the Chair.
  • At all times act honestly, exercise care and diligence in the discharge of their duties and not make improper use of working group information. Improper use would be where a member gains an advantage either directly or indirectly (financial or otherwise) over another person or causes detriment to the working group’s work or to another person.
  • Not publish or communicate to any person, who they are not authorised to publish or communicate to, any information that comes to their knowledge or possession because they are a member of the working group.

Sitting fees

Participation on the working groups will be on a voluntary basis. No sitting fees will be paid.

Meetings and travel costs

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

Membership

Fisheries Queensland will appoint members.  Membership will be refreshed every two years to allow for rotation of different representatives and development of new industry leaders.

The composition of the working group is outlined in the table below:

NameRepresentative of
Kimberly FosterFisheries Queensland (chair) 
Mark DeanCommercial
Ean WhiteCommercial
Ashley (Brett) ArlidgeCommercial
Kim AndersonCharter/Rec
Clive TurnbullScience
Randall OwensGBRMPA
TBAAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Observers
Selina StouteAFMA
Glenn Shiels QBFP - Compliance
Joanne Wortmann ASQ - Science
Danielle StewartFishery Manager, Fisheries Queensland