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

102/05/2015 Fix our Fisheries! - New report - The science and fishery management considerations underpinning the need in North Queensland to control fishing effort by region and to introduce net free zones (NFZs) This report presents a series of articles by the author which were published in the popular fishing press between 2012 and 2014. It is intended as an easy-read, simple summary, in layman’s terms, of the science behind the need for better management of gill netting in North Queensland. Download report full (pdf 3.5 meg)



stop st alliance 22/04/2015 The Stop the Trawler Alliance today called for the factory freezer trawler the Geelong Star and all large factory trawlers to be banned from fishing in Australian waters. This follows revelations the Geelong Star has killed four dolphins and two fur seals within the first few weeks of fishing in Australian waters. Read More.

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16/02/2015 - Seismic testing in Great Australian Bight linked to unusual fish behaviour and whale deaths - Fishing World and conservation groups are reporting a string of unusual occurences which have been linked to seismic testing for oil and gas companies. The seismic testing involves the use of very loud explosive blasts, which interfere with mammal, fish and other animals. Deep sea sperm whales have beached, tuna are being found in unusual areas and all indications are that the predicted impacts on wildlife from this seismic testing are now happening. Read more: Fishing World, Fishos report strange activity on SA coast. Oil Free Seas Kangaroo Island Facebook page


stop st alliance16/02/2015 : When is a supertrawler ban not a supertrawler ban? A: When it fails to ban supertrawlers. - Late last year the Federal Government banned so-called super trawlers, which it defined as ships longer than 130 metres. However it has now announced that the same company will now be approved to operate in the same fishery, but with a 95m vessel. The same concerns around localised depletions of fish and impacts on ecosystems and other fisheries including recreational fishing remain.

Read more: ABC, Fishing World

"Senator Colbeck said the Geelong Star's quota has been set at 16,566 tonnes for jack mackerel, redbait and blue mackerel for the 2014-15 fishing season. But Nobby Clark from Game Fish Tasmania said he was nervous about the latest proposal. "The questions that have been asked by our peak bodies have still not been answered around the series of effects of localised depletion and what these effects could possibly have on an ever-growing game fishing industry on the east coast of Australia," he said. Mr Clark said he was anticipating a fresh wave of protests. "It was never about the length of the vessel, it was about the efficiency of freezer vessels being able to take large quantities of fish out of localised areas," he said.

102/01/2015 - Labor promises Net Free Areas for Queensland - Thanks to the long term work done by recreational fishing groups along the Queensland coast State Labor finally committed to 3 Net Free Areas along the Queensland coast. These areas are set to be a massive boon to fish stock recovery and recreational fishing and tourism in and around areas that face the largest pressures from higher human population densities. Fishers For Conservation is a great supporter of removing net fishing pressure from critical areas such as estuaries and near larger towns.

Marine conservation and particularly protection of the Great Barrier Reef was a critical election issue and has contributed to a big swing against the LNP Government, and Labor looks likely to form Government, FFC will be supporting the recreational fishing community to ensure that they keep their promises.

Here is the Labor party policy that outlines recreational/sustainable fishing commitments including the commitment to "establish three net-free fishing zones in north and central Queensland.

• Trinity Bay - Cairns,

• St Helens Beach – Cape Hillsborough, North of Mackay

• Yeppoon/Keppel Bay/Fitzroy River, Capricorn Coast.

A Labor Government will set aside$10 million to fund the necessary buyout of commercial fishing activity in these areas. This will be funded from Labor’s Great Barrier Reef policy funding allocation."

Here is a letter from the Hon Tim Mulherin, deputy leader of the opposition to Mr Paul Aubin who has worked tirelessly for many years to advance the much needed net free area agenda in the Far North Of Queensland. The letter outlines Labor commitments - well done Paul and others who have worked so hard on this!

stop st alliance24/12/2014 Huge news - Super Trawler ban to become permanent !! MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE :-)

"THE Federal Government has announced it will ban super trawlers from Australian waters. Parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, said the Government will introduce regulations under the Fisheries Management Act to ban super trawlers." The Mercury dec 24 2014

"Tasmanian Senator Richard Colbeck said the Federal Government would introduce regulations under the Fisheries Management Act to ban factory freezer vessels more than 130 metres in length.A temporary ban on super trawlers was introduced in late 2012 to block the controversial FV Margiris, the world's second-largest trawler at the time. That ban was set to expire in April 2015." ABC Dec 24 2014


110/11/2014 - SUBMISSION TO the review of Queensland’s fisheries management, 2014 The need to develop new management measures to reverse the ongoing decline of inshore fish stocks of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and eventually achieve sustainable inshore fisheries at optimal stock levels with minimal adverse ecosystem impacts including reductions in fatalities of large marine animals - David C. Cook, BSc(Zool. Hons1), Post Grad Dp Fisheries Mgt Previously Co-ordinator Network for Sustainable Fishing in the Douglas Region (2007 – 2013) Wonga Beach Queensland, 4873 Australia 30 October, 2014.

The Network for Sustainable Fishing (NSF) is an informal network of individuals and organisations supporting all fishing sectors in Queensland fishing sustainably for the benefit of local communities. Many members with over 20 years fishing experience in FNQ consider our larger inshore fish species of the GBRMP to be currently at such low numbers that current stock of most inshore species can now be regarded as depleted. Website activity for NSF is undertaken by Fishers for Conservation; most of the material presented in this submission is available from


label my fish 7/11/2014 - Catch up with the series 'What's the catch' on SBS on Demand and consider signing the petition at .

Better fish labeling mean more value for Australian fish and better choices. Good for fishers, good for fishing.

"Australians want to buy sustainable, locally caught fish. While most of us think we're eating Australian seafood, about 72% of what we eat is imported. Around the globe many fish stocks are declining. Poor practices in some fisheries are threatening fish species, destroying habitats and undermining workers' rights. Consumer health is at risk. For example some shark species contain high levels of mercury, but because of poor labelling people eat it unaware of the consequences. Australia's weak seafood labelling laws mean we're eating in the dark."


stop st alliance16/10/2014 - 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 or Freecall 1800 006 120. Thank you Marine Parks Team

20/08/2014 - The Queensland Government is undertaking a wide-ranging review of fisheries management in Queensland to deliver a better system for the state's commercial and recreational fishers. The purpose of the review is to fix a system that is complex, costly to administer, and inconsistent. We urge all fishers in Queensland to have thier say in this long overdue, once in a generation oppertunity to fix the mess that is Queensland fisheries management.

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.

07/04/2014 - Please listen to this with FFC member David Cook regarding the Qld fisheries review - Interview ABC radio Mackay approx. 8.35am/FFCWEBSITE_images/Dave Cook on mackay radio re fisheries review

124/03/2014 - 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:

118/03/2014 - The inconvenient truth about unsustainable gillnetting in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park - Articles 4-7 now available! Presented here are a series of 7 (and counting) 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.



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


18/2/2014 - Are GBRMPA ignoring both the science and public concerns about declining inshore fish numbers?.

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).

12/12/2013 - Will the WA shark cull work? - Western Australia’s shark culls lack bite (and science), The Conversation.

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.

6/11/2013 - Net free Zone for Broome's Roebuck bay to boost recreational fishing - "Commercial fishing will be stopped in the waters around Broome after the State Government decided to buy back the licences covering the area... The Department of Fisheries' Peter Godfrey says the decision is being made to boost recreational fishing by locals and tourists."

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.


trawler thumb19/09/2013 - Magris enters pt lincolnOpposition to supertrawler remains despite plans for new fish stock surveys ALICE CLARIDGE MERCURY SEPTEMBER 18, 2013 3:45PM - "The question for the Australian Government is do they want to continue on path to world best management that benefits regions locally and environmentally or do they want to go down the track of industrial scale fishing?"

Read More


trawler thumb24/08/2013 - 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. 

If you have emailed your candidate, now multiply your impact by sharing these memes on Facebook. No one wants Super Trawlers in Australia, so let everyone be part of the action by asking friends to send a message as well.

Let’s remind all political parties and candidates that Super Trawlers are not part of Australia’s sustainable fishing future. We want a strong commitment to safeguard our fisheries and marine life so we can all continue to enjoy its benefits into the future. Please ask your federal candidates to represent our views and ban Super Trawlers for good.

Check out our Stop the Supertrawler page


119/07/2013 The inconvenient truth about unsustainable gillnetting in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park


Are far North Queensland fisheries sustainable? Are we overfishing in the GBRMP? Will the outcomes of recent reviews solve the problems?



13/06/2013 The inconvenient truth about unsustainable gillnetting in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

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.



103/05/2013 Public called on to help with cuttlefish research Giant Australian Cuttlefish. Scientists are calling on the public to help with new research see