Recreational fishing licences and “no take” green zones in the Moreton Bay Marine Park were among issues discussed at a public meeting about fishing management in Queensland.
Up to 50 people, including the State members of parliament Neil Symes (Lytton) and Mark Robinson (Cleveland), attended the meeting in Wynnum on Saturday 23 August.
Professor Glenn Hurry is leading MRAG Asia Pacific’s review of fishing management in Queensland. He explained the purpose and scope of the review with a short presentation. The primary objective of the review is to modernise and simplify fisheries management with a focus on improving systems and processes while balancing economic, social and environmental objectives.
Issues put forward for discussion at the meeting included:
- Policy and legislation
- Allocation and harvest control systems
- Monitoring, information collection and analysis
- Management of non-target species
- Compliance, Stakeholder participation, Performance review, and Resourcing
During the discussion that followed there was general agreement that fishing should be sustainable but less clarity on how exactly this should be achieved. Issues of concern raised at the meeting included:
- Licence buy backs do not necessarily achieve the objective of reducing fish take
- Dumping of dredge spoil in Moreton Bay impacts on fish life
- Overlapping regulation and enforcement by police, fisheries and marine park staff
- Regulation of the charter boat industry needs to be made more sensible
- Systems for monitoring the overall take by recreational fishers
The protected green zones in the Moreton Bay Marine Park were the subject of much discussion. Some in the audience complained about loss of access. Others made the point that since green zones were declared, no information had been made available about what had happened in these areas. The rationale for declaring some areas as green zones was questioned and comments were also made that regulation of occasional access to fish these areas was managed unfairly. Professor Hurry said that green zones were not formally in the scope of MRAG’s review but they would be discussed in the report.
Licensing for recreational fishers
The idea of following the NSW system where recreational fishers have to pay for a fishing licence was raised. Most people seemed to think that this would be beneficial provided that funds raised were held in trust for use on fishing management. As is the case in NSW, it was assumed was that children would not have to be licensed to fish.
Review process and timetable
The review team is holding a number of public meetings throughout Queensland from mid August to mid October. Up until the end of October, submissions can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The MRAG review team will deliver their final report to the Government by the end of November. There is no plan to issue a draft report for public review but there may be some further consultation meetings before the report is finalised.
Further information about the Queensland Fishing Management review can be accessed from the MRAG website.