What it means for the marine environment

What does the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy mean for the marine environment?decorative

The Sustainable Fisheries Strategy 2017-2027 paves the way for Queensland to have a world-class fisheries management system.

The strategy outlines 33 actions to be delivered across 10 reform areas with set targets to be achieved by 2020 and 2027.

These reforms will ensure healthy fish stocks that will support thousands of Queensland jobs. The Strategy will also deliver a modern and responsive system that is transparent and based on good monitoring and research.

The marine environment will benefit from:

  • Moving to best management fisheries management practices.
  • More resilient and abundant fish stocks.
  • More timely and accurate fisheries data from all sectors to underpin decision-making.
  • Greater consideration of the environmental impacts of fisheries through regular ecological risk assessments.
  • Clear harvest strategies for each fishery (including all sectors), which will set out biological and ecological objectives, targets and triggers for management intervention.

How does the Strategy help protect fisheries resources and the ecosystems upon which they depend?

Larger fish stocks allow fish populations and their environments to be more resilient to adverse environmental factors such as climate change and habitat degradation.

Managing fisheries with greater consideration of the broader impacts on target and non-target species will help minimise the unintended impacts of fishing.

Better data and information collection programs will allow for the broader environmental impacts of fisheries to be given greater consideration in fisheries management decision making process.

Will the Strategy address the risk facing the Great Barrier Reef, such as the impacts of climate change and coral bleaching?

This Strategy delivers the fisheries related commitments under the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.

While the reforms do not specifically address issues such as coral bleaching, managing fisheries to build in greater resilience is vital if sensitive marine ecosystems are to survive and recover from adverse environmental conditions resulting from climate change.

How will the risks of impact on non-target species and the broader marine ecosystem be managed?

Managing the risks of impact on non-target species and the broader marine environment is one of the foundations of sustainable fisheries management.

Managing the risk of interactions with threatened, endangered or protected species is a requirement for all fisheries that interact with species listed under the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The Strategy commits to undertake regular environmental risk assessments (ERAs). ERAs identify and measure the wider ecological risks of fishing activity and identify issues that must be further managed.

ERAs will be completed for priority fisheries by the end of 2020, followed by the remaining fisheries to ensure a well-managed and sustainable future.

Is the Queensland Government planning any further licence buy backs to reduce fishing effort for sustainability purposes?

There is no additional funding for further licence buy backs to reduce fishing effort at this time. The government is focused on implementing the holistic reforms needed to deliver a modern, responsive and transparent system. This will best ensure ecologically-sustainable management of Queensland’s fisheries resources into the future.

The Queensland Government will develop new tools such harvest strategies and a resource allocation policy to support best practice fisheries management and sustainability. The Strategy also commits to facilitating industry led structural adjustment to reduce fishing effort where needed.

What is the biomass target for stocks?

The Strategy sets targets for Queensland’s fish stocks to achieve a biomass of at least 40-50 per cent of the original unfished population (or maximum sustainable yield), by 2020, where fish stocks are generally considered sustainable.

The Strategy also sets a target to build stocks up to a target of 60 per cent of the original unfished population (or maximum economic yield) by 2027 that maximises commercial profitability, the quality of fishing, and stock resilience over time.

Biomass targets will be set in harvest strategies. Sustainable catch (and/or effort) limits for all sectors may need to be put in place to achieve these targets.

How can I find out more about the status of Queensland’s fish stocks?

The best way is to visit the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) website and search for ‘stock status assessments’.

How can I keep up to date on the implementation of the Strategy?

To keep up to date, follow Fisheries Queensland on Facebook and subscribe to CatchNews for the latest information and opportunities to get involved.