What it means for recreational fishers

What does the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy mean for recreational fishers?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.

Recreational fishers will benefit from:

  • More resilient fish stocks, allowing for a more satisfying recreational fishing experience and greater opportunities for recreational fishing-based tourism.
  • Better fisheries data from all sectors with more opportunities to be involved in monitoring programs.
  • Greater recognition of the value recreational fishing brings to regional communities.
  • More opportunities to be involved in fisheries management, through working groups and the development of harvest strategies.
  • Clear harvest strategies for each fishery (including all sectors), which will set out the fishery objectives, targets and triggers for management intervention.
  • Clearer resource allocation arrangements between sectors.

What changes will I see, and when?

The reforms will fundamentally change the way we manage fisheries. Immediate actions will include:

  • establishing better engagement mechanisms through fishery-specific working groups and an Expert Advisory Panel
  • a monitoring and research program to guide investment in data collection
  • 20 more compliance officers recruited immediately and placed in regional locations.

Fishery-specific reforms will be considered when each harvest strategy is developed. The priorities are crab, trawl and the east coast inshore net fisheries.

There will be continuous opportunity to have your say on the fisheries that matter to you.

Will a recreational fishing licence be introduced?

The Queensland Government does not support the introduction of a recreational fishing licence.

Recreational and commercial fishers already contribute around $5 million each per year through commercial licence fees and the recreational use fee on boat registrations as well as the stocked impoundment permit scheme.

While some people support a recreational fishing licence, others do not.

How quickly will the reforms be delivered?

Given the scale of the reform needed to more sustainably manage our fisheries, we have committed to achieving the objectives of the Strategy over 10 years.

This Strategy sets out clear targets to be achieved by 2020 and 2027 along with a range of actions, some with defined delivery dates.

What changed as a result of feedback to the Green Paper?

The overwhelming message was that all stakeholders wanted reform to the way we manage fisheries. In particular, there was strong support for better fishery monitoring, more effective engagement, more responsive decision making and greater fisheries compliance.

The proposed reforms in these areas were retained and in many cases strengthened in the Strategy. See the Results of the fisheries green paper consultation report on the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) website for more detailed feedback from all sectors.

When will the rules be reviewed for the fisheries I care about?

It is recognised that reforms are required to a number of Queensland's fisheries, and fish stocks. However, we will need to prioritise our effort in line with the agreed actions and targets.

Review of fishing rules will be addressed during the harvest strategy process and review of legislation in 2018-19 in consultation with all affected stakeholders.

The priority fisheries for harvest strategies and reform are the trawl, crab, and east coast inshore net fisheries.

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.

I want to request a net free zone in my area, how do I do this?

A Resource Allocation Policy will outline a transparent process for assessing applications to reallocate the proportional take from one sector to another.

Interested entities will need to follow the process outlined in the policy for reallocation to be considered by government.

What about a net free zone in Moreton Bay?

The Sustainable Fisheries Strategy proposes more regionally specific management rules, for example, in Moreton Bay.

Fisheries Queensland will establish a working group with stakeholders to discuss regional management arrangements for Moreton Bay.

Does the Strategy deal with the Stocked Impoundment Permit Scheme (SIPS)?

While the Strategy does not contain any specific proposals relating to SIPS, it does contains proposals relevant to the future management of recreational fishing in Queensland.

Freshwater fisheries are not immediate priorities for reform, compared to some other fisheries such as trawl, crab, and inshore fisheries.

How can I find out more or be involved in monitoring programs?

The best way is to visit the fisheries monitoring page on the DAF website or email fisheriesmonitoring@daf.qld.gov.au

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.

Last updated 23 August 2017