Fishers For Conservation, supporting recreational fishers and other people who fish, marine conservation and a healthy environment for now and the future. Keywords: fish fishing recreational fishing sport marine environment MPA Marine Protected Area sustainable eco Australia angler
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Love our oceans and rivers and understand that responsible, sustainable fishing is important to aquatic conservation?
Fishers For Conservation Inc. (FFC) is an Australian based non-profit incorporated association
educating, supporting and representing recreational fishers. FFC counts as members people from all walks of life including commercial fishers, divers, tourism operators, aquatic scientists, and plenty of average anglers with jobs like nurses and teachers. All members are united by the goal of protecting the aquatic environment to ensure future generations can enjoy recreational fishing and other aquatic pursuits as we have in the past and do today. We support
conservation and ecologically based management of the coastal, marine and freshwater environments. FFC is about fishing and respecting the environment you love.
Fishing and aquatic environment conservation can co-exist and to achieve this fishers must adopt sustainable and ecologically based practices and attitudes. FFC is about educating and keeping you informed about conservation issues and acting to ensure that our amazing aquatic environment is protected for us and future generations to appreciate. For more info on FFC see about us.
Learn more and Take action: Latest
16/10/2014 - THE CLOCK IS TICKING THE SUPER TRAWLER BAN ENDS IN 33 DAYS!! Please take action now and sign the petition.
There is an international fleet of freezer-factory trawlers on our doorstep and the industry is still trying to bring them into our waters. Sign the new petition and help convince Prime Minister Tony Abbott to permanently protect our marine life, fisheries and the future of our fishing, from all super trawlers! Dear Prime Minister, We call on the Australian Government to permanently ban super trawlers – large freezer factory trawlers - from Australian waters. Super trawlers are large freezer-factory fishing trawlers that threaten our unique marine life and fisheries, and the recreational fishing, commercial fishing and tourism industries that rely on these. Super trawlers are part of a global problem that has led to the devastation of the world’s fisheries, marine life and local livelihoods, and we don’t want that kind of fishing in Australia. We want fishing activities that ensure healthy oceans, sustainable employment for local fishermen, science based fisheries management, and no unwanted by-catch.
01/10/2014 - South Australia’s marine parks enter a new era today as fishing restrictions begin in sanctuary zones. There are 83 sanctuary zones within our 19 marine parks around the state, which include the feeding and breeding areas of many marine species, from the largest southern right whales down to the tiniest sea stars. From today, fishing will no longer be allowed in these sanctuary zones, which cover about 6 per cent of South Australian waters. That leaves about 94 per cent available for recreational and commercial fishing. Recreational fishing is also provided for at all public jetties, breakwaters and popular beaches. A comprehensive 24-page Fishing Guide is available free from DEWNR offices or by calling freecall 1800 006 120. Plus signs featuring maps of local sanctuary zones have been installed at key boat ramps and access points. To help guide fishers on the water, DEWNR has developed a free smartphone app that can give an alert when entering a sanctuary zone. There are also GPS coordinates available for download for every sanctuary zone in the state. Sanctuary zones play an important role in keeping our marine environments healthy. Restrictions apply to mining, aquaculture, dredging, fishing and collecting. Please respect sanctuary zones. For more information visit www.marineparks.sa.gov.au or Freecall 1800 006 120. Thank you Marine Parks Team
16/07/2014 - Latest edition of the sustainable seafood guide available. See what the Australian Marine Conservation Society considers to be the 'green light, orange light and red light' species in Australia.
02/05/2014 - Excerpt from Media Release - Following a stakeholder consultation meeting with the Expert Panel in Hobart today, environment groups from Stop the Trawler Alliance say the Inquiry into the impacts of a super trawler in Australia’s Small Pelagic Fishery are likely to be inadequate because the narrow terms of reference do not permit the full range of social and economic impacts to be considered, and essential fisheries data is not available.
“Super trawlers are a key part of the world’s ongoing overfishing problems and regularly breach the law. Yet their role in the global destruction of our oceans and matters of corporate irresponsibility are not being considered in the review. Such a limited scope means that the Inquiry is inevitably inadequate in terms of advising the Government on a policy response to super trawlers,” said Ms Hubbard. “We need significantly more research into the Small Pelagic Fishery to ensure its sustainability into the future, and a permanent legislated ban on super trawler operations from all Australian waters immediately.
24/03/2014 - Did you know that king threadfin used to reach 1.7 metres length and 45 kg? They are of course found only in our estuaries, lower sections of our rivers and over the muddy sea bed of our inshore waters from the Tip down to Brissy and also in the Gulf. At 103 cm and 8 kg, this little lady (the one with the tail) would have been around 7 years of age, the largest caught in the Daintree Region so far this year by a local gillnetter following the start of the barra season. She was bearing half formed roe suggesting she would be spawning sometime in March. Like barra, the king threadfin change from male to female as they grow older: i.e. they are protandrous hermaphrodites. Interestingly, the size at which they change sex varies from region to region. Believe it or not, most king threadfin of this size would be too young, too small to change to female in some regions such as the Fitzroy. Studies by Dave Welch, Brad Moore and colleagues have shown that by the time King threadfin in the Fitzroy region have reached 1.14 metres in length they will be on average 9.7 years old and only 50% of them will have taken the plunge and changed to females. The implication is that they have to survive in the fishery for a heck of a long time before being old enough to spawn. This makes a mockery of the present legal size limit if it is based on the need to “let them spawn at least once before you knock ‘em on the head”. King threadfin aggregate to spawn at traditional sites around estuaries at times outside of the barramundi season. The studies by Dave W and Brad Moore and 9 other scientists show that the species, at least after recruitment, do not move between isolated estuary systems. But gillnetters from anywhere on the East Coast are free to do so and target these spawning aggregations. This makes a mockery out of the “Smart State’s” fisheries management regulations and clearly demonstrates the need for regional fisheries management, probably even on a local catchment basis. Currently this species ranks second to barramundi as the species with the largest annual gillnet take. But for how long? Have you noticed any drop in King threadfin numbers and sizes in your area? Please let us know if you have! For more info on the need for regional management, Fishers for Conservation has just posted one of the research papers on King (and Blue) threadfin on line at: http://bit.ly/OJTkom
25/02/2014 - Recreational prawn drag netting in Far North Queensland: a destructive fishing method when used in fish nursery grounds FIRST DRAFT ONLY - a report by David C. Cook Coastal Fisheries Specialist (Indo-pacific). In calm weather during the wet season fingerlings of large iconic inshore fish species such as king threadfin and giant queenfish congregate in shallow water along beaches near estuaries in the Douglas Shire of Far North Queensland. They feed on juvenile prawns which school in these shallow
waters at this time of year. Every wet season recreational drag netting of these beaches by members of the public inevitably causes the death of large quantities of juveniles fish, regardless of how much care is taken. This is because the juvenile fish at this time are of sizes allowing them to become fatally meshed in the small meshes of the drag nets. The majority of meshed juveniles die whilst restrained in this way or whilst attempts are made to release them. Read more, and download a pdf of a powerpoint presentation on the subject. /FFCWEBSITE_images/Grey Mackerel Qld/Inshore netting/Bait netting presentation LMAC 2014 02 13.pdf
The drafts of two recent major planning documents released for public comment by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority have come under fire from fishers throughout North Queensland. People such as David Cass of the Cooktown Fishing Restoration Group, David Cook of NSF Douglas Shire, Paul Aubin of CAREFISH, Cairns, Lance Murray of the Mackay Recreational Fishing Alliance, Kim Martin of Rockhampton and other founder members of the Queensland Recreational Fishers Network are all hugely disappointed by GBRMPA. Read more (jump to latest news).
30/11/2013 - Letter to Minister McVeigh re., Serious concerns remain over netting of grey mackerel (and other inshore species): the need to introduce adequate regional management of gillnetting effort giving due attention to the stock structure and size, spawning seasons and spawning locations of various species
SUMMARY - This letter outlines continuing widespread public concerns relating to FQ’s recent assertion that grey mackerel are “sustainably fished”. FQ’s analyses of grey mackerel catch data and the assumptions they make as presented in the Minister’s letter dated 20 September are challenged. Whilst this letter focuses on grey mackerel, it is noted similar concerns are being expressed for other important inshore species targeted by the ECIFF gillnet fishery.
Jeff Cooper, from the Broome Fishing Club, says it will allow even more people to enjoy the fruits of Broome's Roebuck Bay. I think it's "It's going to make the whole recreational fishing experience much better for people who are heading out into the bay because they'll have greater opportunity to catch large threadfin salmon and the other species which really are what make this place amazing.
24/08/2013 - Reproduced from an email sent by the stop the supertrawler campaign:
We cannot risk getting a Super Trawler back, but it could happen any day now!
Federal Court judges will soon decide whether the temporary Super Trawler ban will stay in place. If they overturn the two year ban, we could have a Super Trawler steaming back to Australia in days, straight from the overexploited Pacific Mackerel fishery off Chile.
Each one of us was integral to the campaign that protected our fisheries and marine life from Super Trawlers last year, and we can’t allow that enormous effort go to waste.
Are far North Queensland fisheries sustainable? Are we overfishing in the GBRMP? Will the outcomes of recent reviews solve the problems?
Presented here are are the first 2 of a series of 4 articles based on NSF reports (available here) written By David Cook for Lee Brake, editor of NQ Fish and Boat, based out of MacKay, in order to spread the word in easy-to-read, everyday speak in their monthly publication.
03/05/2013Public called on to help with cuttlefish research Giant Australian Cuttlefish. Scientists are calling on the public to help with new research seeking greater understanding of the biology of the Giant Australian Cuttlefish to help stop its decline. "As part of this new project, we are asking fishers, divers, boaters and others to report any sightings of cuttlefish and their eggs, especially in the northern Spencer Gulf. Sightings will help determine if the cuttlefish are moving elsewhere to breed and how the distribution and abundance of the population might be changing."
Members of the public are asked to record sightings of individuals (numbers and size) and eggs at www.redmap.org.au
16/04/3013 Adelaide and Kagaroo Island events to oppose offshore drilling in Southern Austalian waters. - As part of an international day of action SA community will come together to join 'Hands Across the Sand' to oppose proposals to test and drill for oil off the SA coast. As fishers this is an issue close to our hearts and FFC urges all Adelaide and KI residents to get along and show support. More details:
29/03/2013 - Cuttlefish closure in upper Spencer Gulf SA. In response to a massive decline in cuttlefish numbers breeding at the unique aggregation site near Whyalla a closure to fishing for cuttlefish has been declared. This precautionary measure does not stop fishers from targeting squid or octopus. Any cuttlefish caught in upper spencer gulf must be gently returned to the water.
8/03/2013 Have your say. The base of the food chain that supports the South Australian west coast fishery is again under threat. After the declaration of Bight Petroleum's proposal to sesimic test (and later drill) off Kangaroo Island as a 'controlled action' under environmental law, the company has withdrawn it's application and resubmitted. Help make sure that this proposal does not avoid proper public scrutiny. Only a short 10 business days allowed for public comment, closes 18th March.
4/03/2013 - More good news - "The super trawler Abel Tasman is to leave Australian waters without catching a fish. After a massive community and political campaign against the ship, its Tasmanian operators have confirmed it has been sold, its Australian registration abandoned and the vessel is to depart within days." Super trawler leaving Australia, the Mercury.com
Of course, this story is far from over "Seafish Tasmania director Gerry Geen says the Government left it with no choice but to look at other options.....He says the company still wants to fish its quota of jack mackerel and red bait using a large-scale freezer trawler. "Whether it's the Abel Tasman or smaller vessel, it will be that type of boat," Mr Geen said. Seafish Tasmania is challenging the Federal Government's trawling ban in court and says it is considering further legal action after the latest ban. ABC News . See also coverage in The Examiner
21/02/2013 - Sustainable Fishing Education Project for Roebuck Bay - Project launch! - Practical ways to increase recreational fishing sustainability in our important Ramsar listed Bay. Delivered by fishers, to fishers. This project is co-managed by Fishers for Conservation and Environs Kimberley through funding from the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country program. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to the Caring for our Country program, Yawuru Traditional Custodians, DEC, Fisheries, The Roebuck Bay Working Group, SeagrassWatch Broome and other project partners. Head to the Roebuck bay page to learn more and access some useful information.
13/02/2013 - Good news! Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has announced he will knock back Seafish Tasmania's latest application to use its super trawler as a floating freezer. Well done to all involved.
A summary of concerns held for fisheries management in far North Queensland that is relevant to fisheries management Australia wide.
26/01/2013 - It's not over yet.. There is a push on to now use the Super Trawler as a mothership to help take unprecedented numbers of small pelagic fish from the food chain in Australian waters. Take action before Monday.
6/01/2013 - Urgent - Fishing and the environment at risk off Kangaroo Island in South Australia. Bight Petroleum is proposing extensive seismic testing and potential deep water drilling in the ecological hotspot of the Kangaroo Island pool and canyon area. We have only a few days before environment minister Tony Burke decides on allowing and/or placing conditions on the proposed seismic testing component.
In July 2006 the Douglas LMAC Sub-committee on Fishing reported widespread local concern that gillnetting was considered to be causing local overfishing and dugong and turtle deaths in the Douglas Shire inshore waters. Fisheries Queensland (FQ) were advised of these concerns by the DLMAC and by June 2007 three public meetings had been held discussing these and related issues. The main recommendations emerging from these meetings were: 1. make the local, inshore grey mackerel fishery line only, 2. close local waters to all roving or out-of-town gillnetters, and 3. buy back locally held gillnet licences after 5 years. Read full report here.
"Recreation zones are Fishers For Conservation's recommended solution to the problem of buffering sanctuary zones. Recreation zones are also recommended as a solution for zoning in high recreational use areas that nonetheless deserve higher levels of protection." Read our focussed commentary on a mojor oversight in current Marine Park planning in South Australia and elsewhere, here.
14/09/2012 - Super Trawler stopped by Government - We Won!... for now.
Thank you for signing the petition and reading more about the issue on our Stop the Supertrawler page and on stopthetrawler.net. People power can work. Fishers For Conservation has been proud to be part of the Stop The Trawler campaign and congratulates all involved on the outcome.
Lets hope that this opens the debate regarding the sustainability of our modern fishing practices and leads to improved outcomes in other areas of Australian fisheries management and environmental protection. We look with hope toward the review to update the fisheries management legislation announced by Minister Joe Ludwig alongside the legislative amendment.
"Federal environmental protection laws will be changed to prevent a super trawler fishing in Australian waters."
Serious questions have been raised about the Australian Fisheries Management Authorities handling of the process and the science used (and abused?) to set quotas.
Ludwig rejected whistleblower warnings on trawler approval - "Jon Bryan, the conservation member of the committee, and Graham Pike, the recreational fishing representative, raised concerns about the science behind that decision, and also allegations of conflict of interest because Gerry Geen, the director of the trawler operator Seafish Tasmania also sat on the approval committee."
6/09/2012 - Time to contact the Fisheries Minister and tell him to take action - Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has responded to community concerns about the super trawler saying he is powerless to stop it, instead introducing a series of conditions to minimise the impact of the trawler on listed threatened species. Whilst it's good to see Minister Burke using his powers to act, the conditions put in place will not stop this super trawler (or others) destroying our marine life and fisheries. See our Stop the Supertrawler page for more info. Contact the Fisheries minister here
In SA There will be another, larger, rally at the steps of parliament house 11am Saturday 8th, organised by local fishos. Facebook event here. Also a big event in Tasmania coming up on the weekend details next post.
21/08/2012 - Ombudsman to review super trawler quota - The Commonwealth Ombudsman has launched a formal investigation into the fishing quota that has been set for the super trawler Margiris. - "There can be no doubt that AFMA failed to do its job properly, that the quota for the super trawler is completely discredited and, frankly, that the boat may as well turn around and go back to Europe," [Tasmanian Independent MP Andrew Wilkie ] said.
20/08/2012 - Fishers quit over quotas for trawler - Sydney Morning Herald - "A Federal government attempt to calm Australia's influential recreational fishers over the super trawler Margiris is in disarray...Mr Nikolai said detailed discussions in the working group showed basic knowledge of the fishery was lacking.
''Recreational fishers call on [the Fisheries Minister, Joe] Ludwig to not allow industrial-scale fishing operations to occur in the small pelagic fishery and address the significant public concerns surrounding the risks of local area depletion on fish stocks,'' he said."
17/08/2012 - On Wednesday, representatives of the Stop the Trawler alliance delivered our petition signed by over 35,000 people to the Minister of Fisheries Joe Ludwig - in a large net with each name printed on paper mackerel fish. super trawler delivery image The campaign continues to gain momentum - our coalition of groups, National Day of Action and now the delivery of our massive petition to the Fisheries Minister has meant this issue is truly on the national agenda. Independent MP Andrew Wilkie asked the PM about the super trawler in question time yesterday, and the Minister for the Environment, Tony Burke, has also indicated he is looking in more depth at the super trawler proposal. If the trawler gets the green light from the Australian Government the responsibility to manage the operation will fall with the Environment Department. Our campaign seems to be working - politicians from Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and South Australia are asking questions and opposing the super trawler! However recent news that the super trawler will be dropping off a load of fish caught in international waters to Perth en route to Tasmania is concerning. That's why we'll continue this campaign to stop the super trawler until the Government makes its final decision, which we think may be very soon. We say no to the super trawler, and yes to healthy oceans, to sustainable employment for local fishermen, science based fisheries management, and no unwanted by-catch. More info: stopthetrawler.net
14/08/2012 - super trawler NDA - Thank you to the hundreds of people across Australia that joined the National Day of Action against the Super Trawler on Saturday. From Perth to Adelaide, Sydney to Hobart, the message was clear - we are opposed to allowing the Super Trawler FV Margiris to devastate our fragile marine ecosystem and local fishing industry. Have a look at the images from Saturday here. In Hobart around 400 boats gathered in the harbour to join 200 people on land - one of the largest flotillas seen in Tasmania. In Melbourne eighty people were joined on St Kilda beach by Member for Wills Kelvin Thompson. In Western Australia, people from all walks of life attended three actions organised in Perth, Fremantle and Albany. A crowd gathered at Port Adelaide Lighthouse and in Launceston, the impacts of the super trawler on non-target species such as dolphins and seals was highlighted in a st reet theatre performance by local “Stop the Trawler Action Group”. And in between all this, people sent in their personal messages to stop the super trawler. Thank you so much! The National Day of Action received media across the country and provided us an amazing collage of images, which will be presented to Federal MPs and Senators in Canberra this week. Tomorrow, we will deliver the 35,000 signature strong petition to Fisheries Minister Joe Ludwig in Canberra. Each individual name on the petition will be represented by a paper fish held by a huge net, sending a powerful message: Stop the Super Trawler!
"Professor Daniel Pauly from the Fisheries Research Centre at the University of British Columbia says it may be difficult for AFMA to police the trawler to ensure it remains within its quota. He says the recent experience of a chartered Korean super trawler in a joint venture with a local New Zealand operator should serve as a warning to Australian regulators.
"The New Zealand experience is very telling in this regard," he told Background Briefing.
"New Zealand authorities thought they were very strict. And they ended up having a fleet of vessels chartered from Korea who busted the quota."
“AFMA has as good as admitted the fishing quota for the MV Margiris is not worth the paper it’s written on,” Mr Wilkie said. “So the quota needs to be ripped up and the whole assessment process started again.
“AFMA has claimed strong scientific backing for its approach, but aquatic policy specialist Jon Nevill said the organisation’s processes were fundamentally wrong. Instead of taking the approach of considering the effect of fishing on the whole ecosystem, AFMA adopted a “single stock” concept, Dr Nevill said.”
“The company bringing a super trawler to Australian waters this month is now facing opposition from a coalition of environment groups. Fourteen state and national environment groups have banded together to stop Seafish Tasmania bringing the super trawler FV Margiris to fish Commonwealth waters.”
“Commonwealth environment laws ban deepwater trawling in the Huon and Tasman Fracture Marine Reserves. But because the reserves are designated “multiple use zones” mid-water trawling is allowed.”
Tuna Club of Tasmania president Neil “Nobby” Clark worries that if the Margiris is allowed to fish off the continental shelf, or anywhere in Tasmanian waters, it could spell ecological disaster.” – “Local fishermen yesterday turned their voices against the 140m trawler being granted approval to fish out of Devonport from August. “ Tuna club joins trawler fight – Blair Richards, The Mercury, July 01, 2012
t radical change in the cultures which operate within fisheries agencies. This could be achieved, I argue, by replacing fisheries management agencies with agencies charged with managing marine biodiversity assets. This finding reinforces recommendations made in recent years by several prominent scientists for fundamental and far-reaching changes to the administration of marine fisheries worldwide. In essence, management agencies must be re-focused on the objective of protecting the marine ecosystems which underpin commercial production, rather than simply regulating the harvest of individual species." Read More
There are fears in Tasmania that the fishing operation of a super trawler headed to Australia might kill dolphins and seals. The company Seafish Tasmania wants to use the super trawler to take 18,000 tonnes of fish a year. But environmental groups are concerned that the super trawler will also take dolphins and seals as by-catch.
It's the largest fishing vessel that would ever work in Australian fisheries, said to have been part of destroying West African fisheries, and feared to be coming to Australia to destroy our fisheries. Recreational fishing groups and environmental groups that are usually at odds over Australia's new marine parks are allied in opposition to the super trawler. Meanwhile, the government and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority say that the fisheries will be rigorously protected. Go to our Stop The Supertrawler Page read more and sign the petition
15/07/2012Your chance to support FFC and proudly cast out your custom pellagic game rod or special FFC boat rod. The game rod is unique -specially designed for the FFC showing their objectives which are printed directly onto the Sabre blank between a split rear leather grip. A rare opportunity to purchase a rod knowing that it also assists in the conservation of our fish stocks. A 3-4kg fully rollered game rod with a double over-bind under a high build epoxy, this is ready to tackle pelagic’s head on. The boat rods are individually named and high quality. Thanks to FFC Gold Member Eyre Rods for this great offer!
The Dutch-owned supertrawler Margiris has applied for Australian registration, bringing its controversial fishing venture a step closer. The vessel now steams under the flag of Lithuania. Its application was confirmed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority today.
"This application will be assessed in accordance with the Shipping Registration Act and the vessel's managers will be advised in due course," an AMSA spokeswoman said.
The 9600-tonne Margiris, owned by global fishers Parlevliet & Van der Plas, is the largest ship ever to fish in Australian waters. It is to trawl offshore from New South Wales, around Tasmania and Victoria to Western Australia. Advertisement It will be flagged to Australia to be eligible to fish for a quota of about 18,000 tonnes of mackerel and redbait, to be block frozen whole on board and exported, Parlevliet's joint venture partner Seafish Tasmania said. The 142-metre trawling giant has a 200-metre long net with an opening measuring 75 by 35 metres. It has a freezing capacity of 200 tonnes a day. Australian fishers have long sought to exploit the country's so-called "small pelagics", which are prey for bigger fish such as tuna and marlin. Go to our Stop The Supertrawler Page read more and sign the petition
10/07/2012 - SA government releases marine park zones - A map showing all of the proposed Marine Parks Zoning has been released. The Environment minister also said that "Draft management plans for each marine park, including the proposed zoning, will be released for public review in the near future". More on our SA Marine Parks page
SA govt releases marine park zones Sky News - "South Australia's 19 marine parks will allow a wide range of activities, including commercial and recreational fishing, Environment Minister Paul Caica says. The state government today released the full set of proposed zones for the marine parks after announcing a series of smaller sanctuary zones in April. The sanctuary areas, which cover about six per cent of SA waters, will essentially be no-go zones for fishing." Read More
Final proposal released on new SA marine zoning ABC - "SA Environment Minister Paul Caica said the state's 19 marine parks were vital to preserving ecosystems and marine life. "What it clearly shows through these maps is that we're providing ongoing opportunities for community and industry as well as conservation," he said." read more
SA govt releases marine park zones Herald Sun (AAP) - COMMERCIAL and recreational fishing will be allowed in parts of South Australia's 19 marine parks, Environment Minister Paul Caica says. Access All Areas - Digital Pass The state government on Tuesday released the full set of proposed zones for the marine parks after announcing a series of smaller sanctuary zones in April. The sanctuary areas, which cover about six per cent of SA waters, will essentially be no-go zones for fishing....read more
The Prime Minister says approval had not been given for the ship to enter Australia. "Unless the regulator can be absolutely certain that that vessel will operate in a genuinely sensible and sustainable way, it should not be allowed into Australian waters," Wilkie told ABC radio. "It is not in our national interest. I don't think it's in the interest of Australia's very important fishing industry." Go to our Stop The Supertrawler Page read more and sign the petition
17/06/2012 - Inshore netting update - Beach goers at Wonga Beach were surprised to stumble on an early Sunday morning raid being carried out by Port Douglas Fisheries Patrol officers. On-lookers reported seeing other dead but under-size threadfin salmon and bream being discarded from the net.
Two men who had slept on the beach by a campfire all night were interviewed by the officers. Sustainable Fisheries Network co-ordinator, David Cook, who lives at Wonga Beach said that a number of people had complained to him recently about gillnetting activities along the beach, suspecting it to be illegal. He said he had encouraged them to phone the toll-free Fish Watch Hotline (1800 017 116) which will put them through to the local Fisheries Patrol Office. “It’s really good to hear that the boys in blue came out from Port Douglas so early on a Sunday morning and made a successful seizure. Some of the big stores in Cairns sell these nets to the public and that should be made illegal for a start. They are as much to blame as the poor sods who can’t resist chancing their luck” Mr Cook said. Read more
2,000 of the drag/bait net fliers were printed and 800 of these have been distributed the local Port Douglas Fishing Mag. Line Burner, also available online free.
More about sustainable fishing in the Port Douglas region and the fight to protect inshore fish stocks, including the Grey Mackerel on our Grey Mackerel Page
3/6/2012 - 15/07/2012 - Web hosting changeover completed. We appologise for the lack of updates over the preceeding weeks which we are posting now. We had a problem with our hosting provider Deasoft www.deasoft.com and have changed to a new host, but it took time. Read our appology and review of Brett James Deason's Deasoft hosting services here.
21/05/2012 Update from NSF in Queensland: All is not well in our inshore waters but progress is being made as you will see from the attached report. Our report does have a one page summary for those of you whose time will not stretch to checking all 14 pages. NSF, a non-funded, voluntary community network will stick with this difficult issue until things are fixed.
16/03/12 NT Minister for Parks and Wildlife, Karl Hampton, today announced the formation of a major new National Park and Marine Park. In a press release he states " “I am very pleased that as part of today’s major announcement we introduced Maria Island into the National Park, and with that; a new recreational fishing friendly Marine Park, Limmen Bight, located in the Gulf region approximately 600km south east of Darwin. “This will help protect turtle, dugong and dolphin habitats and significant sea grass beds. “Limmen National Park and Limmen Bight Marine Park will add over one million hectares to our parks estate, and the new fishing friendly marine park alone will boost marine conservation in the Territory by 30 per cent."
The issue of the need for urgent management change in the depleted inshore fisheries of the GBRMP has been brought to the attention of UNESCO, through our NSF presentation to the delegates assessing the World Heritage status of the GBRMP, at the meeting in Cairns 13/03/12. NSF provided a five minute talk, along with regional NGOs and tendered our SUBMISSION TO UNESCO DELEGATION TO AUSTRALIA, MARCH 2012 The depleted inshore fisheries of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park need urgent management change.
14/03/12 - Queensland election commitments - All political parties have now publically recognized the huge level of community concerns over our over-netted inshore waters and have pledged $9m to 12m to “fix the problem”. The ALP commitment includes "A $12 million voluntary buy-out of netting licences and a structural adjustment of the netting industry will be carried out to protect turtles and dugongs and promote recreational fishing" See ALP Reef watch media release for detail. The LNP has released a policy that includes the following commitment "“... The LNP is committed to the health and wellbeing of our fisheries and will undertake a $9 million voluntary buyback program in consultation with the industry. The buyback will target large mesh and gill nets (sic.) with a special focus on important recreational fishing locations and areas of high conservation value. In addition, to ensure the long term sustainability of our fisheries, we will invest up to $1 million in a range of sustainability measures including enhanced monitoring of fisheries on a regional basis." More detail here
06/03/2012Scientists recommend a more holistic approach to fishing - ABC News- " A group of international fishing scientists says it's time to take a more holistic approach to fishing. The report by five conservation and fisheries scientists is urging a more ecosystem approach to fishing management, with a moderate level of fishing spread across a wide range of species, stocks and sizes. Senior research scientist with the CSIRO in Hobart Dr Tony Smith says it's a significant shift."
06/03/2012 - Territory imposes moratorium on seabed mining - ABC News - "A moratorium on seabed mining has been declared for coastal waters of the Northern Territory. The Territory Government decision means applications for underwater mining and mining exploration will not be granted for a period of three years. The moratorium will be in place until 2015, while an assessment on the environmental impact of such activities is undertaken by the Environment Protection Authority. The moratorium does not include petroleum or gas exploration and production, and port development activities." See also NT News Sea bed mining temporarily banned
29/02/2012 - Fears for fishing spots NT NEWS - FISHERMEN fear biodiversity at popular fishing spots would be under threat if two companies were granted permits to explore for gas and oil over a vast stretch of Top End waters. Two companies - subsidies of Australian Oil and Gas - have applied for permits spanning 20,000sq km from Darwin Harbour to the Cobourg Peninsula.
19/10/11 Avaliable for download: Submission from the NSF, Douglas Region, Far North Queensland to the current assessment of the ECIFF. Download - PDF - and Word versions. To be read in conjunction with our earlier ‘Review of Concerns ..’ which is a vital part of this submission.
This submission is in relation to the Environmental Assessment on the (QLD) East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fishery (ECIFF) under the Environment and Biodiversity Protection Act, 1999 and the Guidelines for the Ecologically Sustainable Management of Fisheries, Ed. 2, 2007
02/09/2011 - Top End fishermen condemn return of reef trawlers - ABC news - "Top End fishermen fear they will be hit by a decision to allow bottom trawling off the Kimberley coast of Western Australia. Fishing groups and environmentalists in the Top End are outraged by a Federal Government decision to allow trawling off the Kimberley coast of Western Australia by the end of October."
Fishers For Conservation supports the commercial fishers of the Kimberley in thier fight to prevent this damaging trawl fishery into an area they should not go, to destroy ecosystems and fishery resouces off the Kimberley coast.
23/08/11 - Have your say on the North-west A draft Marine Bioregional Plan and a Commonwealth marine reserve network proposal for the North-west Marine Region have been released for public consultation. These drafts will be available for public comment for 90 days during which everyone is encouraged to make a formal submission. Read more at http://www.environment.gov.au/coasts/mbp/north-west/consultation/index.html#plan to make your own submissions. Fishers For Conservation is planning to make comment as well and member feedback is wanted to firstname.lastname@example.org
13/08/11 - Gagging scientists about marine parks - Opionion piece regarding the current process and how many were not allowed to join the "over 150 marine scientists (mostly from Australia, including me) who are concerned that the proposed network of marine reserves in the Commonwealth waters of the South West bioregional marine planning region is not based on sound scientific principles, and is instead a mash-up of what amounts to leftovers that industry hasn’t yet found a way to exploit. Not the best way to plan for marine biodiversity conservation in the long run."
12/08/11 Fishing and conservation groups unite - Paraphrased from Environs Kimberley media release. Fishing and Conservation groups have united to express alarm over Federal government plans to allow trawling of an area the size of greater Perth in the pristine Kimberley next month. The Australian Fishery Management Authority’s proposal to allow trawling in the area has upset local fishers as trawling in this area will destroy the local trap and line fishery. Bob Masters, Broome representative of the local trap and line fishery (Northern Demersal Scale Fishery (NDSF)) says “This 6000 sq km area was never meant to be part of the deep water prawn trawl fishery (North West Slope Trawl Fishery) that trawls offshore areas deeper than 200m. “The Authority’s own management plan states that no trawling should be done in shallow areas (less than 200m in depth). ”We fish for tropical snappers in this area and our fishery has strict effort quota restrictions to ensure stock sustainability. “Trawlers have not been allowed into the area since the Taiwanese trawlers were stopped in the 1970s and since then the seabed habitats have regrown and the fish communities have been replenished.” ... Martin Pritchard, Director of Environs Kimberley says “This area is currently being considered for the National Marine Reserve Network and trawling is one of three fishing gear types disallowed in the reserve network.” “Why will this area be opened to trawling before the marine reserve network is finalized?” he asked.
27/07/2011Your chance to support FFC and proudly cast out your custom pellagic game rod or special FFC boat rod. The game rod is unique -specially designed for the FFC showing their objectives which are printed directly onto the Sabre blank between a split rear leather grip. A rare opportunity to purchase a rod knowing that it also assists in the conservation of our fish stocks. A 3-4kg fully rollered game rod with a double over-bind under a high build epoxy, this is ready to tackle pelagic’s head on. The boat rods are individually named and high quality. Thanks to FFC Gold Member Eyre Rods for this great offer!
23/072011South Australia Cuttlefish colony missing - "Experts and tourism operators say they are at a loss to explain why the tens of thousands of Giant Australian Cuttlefish have not appeared for their annual breeding migration. They fear the species is in danger, saying less than a quarter of the usual numbers have made it to the shallow, rocky waters off Whyalla and those that have are smaller than usual." this area is proposed for a desalination plant and this article suggests commercial overfishing may be a key issue.
17/06/11 Luc Longley talks fishing and marine sanctuaries - Australia's first NBA basketball player, Luc Longley, is just as passionate about his fishing as his basketball. That's why he's produced this video, alerting fishers to the Australian Government's proposed South West marine sanctuaries and our one chance to get them right so that there's more fish in the oceans. This link was sent to us by Save Our Marine life.
Two dead snubfin dolphins float in a waterway A local fisherman made the discovery in Two Mile Creek. Authorities are disgusted by the discovery of two rare dolphins found dead, tied to mangroves, and weighed down by a slab of concrete in north Queensland.
10/05/11 The Victorian Coalition Government has announced a commitment to improve opportunities for Victorian recreational fishers with a $16.2 million investment in the 2011-12 Victorian Budget.
20/04/11A new book has been published examining the application of the precautionary principle and the ecosystem approach in Australian fisheries management. Download flyer (.doc)
Overfishing under regulation: The application of the precautionary principle and the ecosystem approach to Australian fisheries management. Dr Jonathan Nevill 2010 Overview: This book explores the idea that poor fisheries management - and the economic and ecological damage which follows - is largely the result of management failures to implement important strategies to account for uncertainty. The two most important of these strategies are the precautionary principle and the ecosystem approach. After investigating the implementation of these strategies in Australian fisheries case studies, the author concludes that implementation is at best incompetent, and at worst dishonest. However, the case study of the southern ocean krill fishery, managed by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, provides an important exception. Other case studies include the Western Rock Lobster fishery, the Northern Prawn fishery, the Orange Roughy fishery, and South Australia's abalone fishery. The central conclusion of the book is that steps must be taken bring about radical change in the cultures which operate within fisheries agencies. This could be achieved, the author argues, by replacing fisheries management agencies with agencies charged with managing marine biodiversity assets
One of Australia's most respected scientists discusses marine parks, do they work?
"As marine reserves spread inexorably across the planet, the cry from skeptics and some fishermen is: “Do marine reserves work?” The science is pretty clear but acknowledgement of this by the public is another story. Let me begin with a story of my experience answering this question while communicating to stakeholders the subtleties of marine conservation planning during the rezoning of Moreton Bay."..
29/03/2011Marine reserves a boon to fishermen, research shows. By Lewis Smith March 29 2011 - Marine reserves bring dramatic improvements not just in the number of fish within them but in the catches fishermen make outside them, a succession of scientific studies has shown.
This article examines the Marine Parks debate raging in Australia today. An experienced fisher and marine scientist asks the question – are we missing the point?
If you are a fisher in SA or anywhere in Australia please read this article by one of FFC's founding members.
25/2/11 - FFC Sustainable Fishing Education for Roebuck Bay (WA) project launched!!
The sustainable fishing project education is a collaborative project that aims to provide the most current and scientifically up to date information possible to assist the recreational fishing community and others to fish sustainably and look after the Roebuck Bay region. Read more here or at www.sustainablefishing.net.au (coming soon).
Read up on some of the proven scientific benifits of marine parks.
"Marine parks are internationally recognised as an effective tool to manage and conserve marine resources and biodiversity. Because marine parks will introduce some changes to how South Australian waters can be used, it’s important to know what benefits can be gained from protecting sections of our marine parks as no-take marine reserves (sanctuary zones) where extractive activities are prohibited. Multiple-use marine parks attempt to reduce the impacts on marine ecosystems by protecting a proportion of all habitats and their associated species from removal, destructive activities and a range of threatening processes. "
8/02/11 How I Fell in Love With a Fish. An engaging and entertaining examination of the futre of sustainable fishing, food and aquaculture.
"Chef Dan Barber squares off with a dilemma facing many chefs today: how to keep fish on the menu. With impeccable research and deadpan humor, he chronicles his pursuit of a sustainable fish he could love, and the foodie's honeymoon he's enjoyed since discovering an outrageously delicious fish raised using a revolutionary farming method in Spain."
05/02/11 - SA marine Parks, Where is the process at?
The Department of Environment and Natural Heritage has developed a new corporate website, with a special section for marine conservation - including marine parks. The new marine park home page will still be accessible via this URL: www.marineparks.sa.gov.au.
The sanctuary zones 'scenarios' map has finally been released as a single map covering the whole state, download here. Thanks to those who have provided feedback to Email: email@example.com so far. FFC belives in fair and equitable access for fishers and protection to ensure our fishing future.
"The so-called ‘spillover effect’ is a long-standing debate in conservation ecology. The idea is relatively simple – put in a marine reserve (or, no-take zone, park, whatever you wish to call it as long as it restricts blanket over-fishing) and the area around the reserve eventually profits from the nearby over-production of fish (and other taxa)."
The University of Adelaide's Dr. Melissa Nursey-Bray has this morning published a report that has reviewed over 350 scientific and social studies on existing marine parks.
The report examines marine parks from an economic and environmental perspective. The report demonstrates that marine sanctuary zones act as effective fisheries management tools as well as providing comprehensive conservation outcomes.
"This review provides an international overview of the design, principles, socio-economic conditions, and different models for MPAs. While it is acknowledged that the benefits of MPAs occur for many sectors and industries, this review explicitly highlights the benefits of MPAs to fishing."
The report presents case studies in a plain English format and will act as an easy reference guide to help communicate the benefits of sanctuary zones using real life examples!
26/11/10 Draft zoning arrangements for the SA marine parks are now available. View the SA Marine Park outer boundaries Here and the new maps showing possible sanctuary zones at http://marineparkssa.ning.com/page/local-advisory-groups - download the 'scenario map' for your local area and you will get an idea where the no fishing areas may be and a brief explanation of the rationale behind each high protection zone. Read more on our SA Marine Parks Page
20/11/10 Check out the sustainable seafood guide online. from the Australian Marine Conservation Society. See how your favorite catch is rated. Think about how much it is worth to you and how much it is worth on the warf or costs in the shop or resturant...
8/11/10 Read this correspondance from an experienced and passionate fisher and 15 year calm water fishing guide, retail fishing industry worker, past director of Tourism Tropical North Queensland and fisheries researcher for Tourism Queensland.
"I got sick of making excuses as to why the fishing was so poor that I could not justify taking clients money and honestly say………the tides must be wrong / the water is too cold / too hot / there has been too much rain and fresh water / that we needed more rain to flush out the system……..everything but to admit that the fish stock have become so badly depleted by commercial netting and that’s why we had to be content with piddly 25cm grunter and catfish instead on glorious barramundi / fingermark / king & blue salmon / queenfish etc etc etc.
"The solution is quite simple – GET RID OF THE NETS IN INSHORE / COASTAL / TIDAL areas in highly populated / tourist destinations where the true economic value of the now limited resource may be enhanced by recreational sport fishers." Read the full letter here.
Check out the new Fish Focus Forum for in depth examination of interesting fish species and issues.
Help to stop the decimation of a species in the shadow of the World Heritage Listed Daintree in Queensland's far North. More info on the Grey Mackerel and what you can do here.
The largest desalination plant in the southern hemisphere threatens fishing in Spencer Gulf, South Australia - read more here
What you can do:
There are many ways to get involved with FFC via this web site. Read the information provided on sustainable fishing and aquatic conservation and explore some of the links provided. Send an email to a decision maker or participate in upcoming events. If you like what we do please JOIN THE FFC (free membership available) and let everybody know the majority of fishers support marine and freshwater environment protection. So get active, get educated, and add your voice to the growing movement for protection of our marine and freshwater environments.
Know somebody who would be interested in this site? Maybe a workmate, relative or fishing friend? Email a friend and let them know about this web site.