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title slideThe urgent need to reverse the decline of fish stocks and other iconic marine life in the inshore waters of the Great Barrier Reef Marine park.

This timely, copyright free and important presentation put together by the Network for Sustainable Fishing (NSF) Urban Coast of the GBRMP 6 April, 2011.

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Species such as our iconic Barramundi, Threadfin Salmon, and the lesser known Grey Mackerel are in serious decline in inshore waters of Australia. The management and eventual removal of damaging netting practices from critical estuarine and inshore nursery and breeding areas is a Fishers For Conservation priority area of concern.

Inshore species of concern

I

 

THE URGENT NEED TO REVERSE THE DECLINE OF FISH STOCKS AND
OTHER ICONIC MARINE LIFE IN THE INSHORE WATERS OF THE
GREAT BARRIER REEF MARINE PARK

Network for Sustainable Fishing (NSF) Urban Coast of the GBRMP
6 April, 2011.
2. NSF CO-ORDINATORS contributing to this presentation:

Kim Martin, Rockhampton
capsunfish@bigpond.com
Lance Murray, Mackay
lancemurray@mcs.net.au
Paul Aubin, Cairns
 paul@cairnsbednboat.com.au
David Cook, Douglas (editor)
 davecook@bigpond.com
David Cass, Cooktown
david.cass51@gmail.com

  • THE NETWORK FOR SUSTAINABLE FISHING (NSF)
  • An informal e-network of people having interests in fishing and support industries along the urban coast of the GBRMP

OVER-ARCHING CONCERNS

  • The on-going depletion of inshore fish stocks from Rockhampton to Cooktown,
  • Fisheries  QLD  (FQ) apparently in denial ,
  • GBRMPA apparently powerless  to intervene.
  • NSF VISION

Following recognition that the inshore fish stocks of the GBRMP are depleted,  stocks are managed such that:

  • they are rebuilt and maintained at resilient levels,
  • greater use is made of Net Free Areas such that allowable catches are allocated to provide optimum economic and biodiversity benefits to local communities, and
  • all negative impacts of fishing on non-target species are minimized.
  • INSHORE FISH SPECIES (not reef fish) OF CONCERN include:
  • barramundi, fingermark, blue threadfin, king threadfin, and grey mackerel
  • NSF GOALS

Government recognizing:

  • that inshore fish stocks are overfished and declining, and
  • the value of rebuilding these stocks and allowing communities to make the best sustainable use of their local fishing grounds.
  • NSF GOALS continued:
  • An overhaul of the East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fishery (ECIFF) regulations, to allow inshore fish stocks to rebuild incl. adequate protection of spawning stocks and nursery grounds (This will help lead to higher value, sustainable catches and boost local economies.)
  • Minimal impact on non-target species
  • ENDANGERED AND VULNERABLE MARINE LIFE ARE READILY CAUGHT IN FISHING NETS
  • DUGONG ARE VERY VULNERABLE TO DROWNING IN GILLNETS
  • ENDEMIC INSHORE DOLPHINS AND WHALES ALSO AT RISK FROM FISHING NETS
  • NSF RECOGNIZES:
  • Two decades of dealing with FQ has ended in stalemate and public disenchantment.
  • Input from the recreational and charter fishing sectors, although requested by FQ, has been largely ignored in favour of commercial interests and to the detriment of fish stocks.
  • It is time to make these concerns an election issue and press for changes:
      • in government policy towards fishing,
      • within FQ and
      • to ECIFF regulations.
  • NSF ALSO RECOGNIZES:
  • The EPBC Act 1999under which export fisheries must be assessed to determine whether they can be declared as approved Wildlife Trading Operations,
  • Federal Guidelines for the Ecologically Sustainable Management of Fisheries,
  • The Independent Review of QLD’s ECIFF undertaken in 2008 at the request of the Federal Minister for the Environment
  • The Conditions and Recommendations placed on the ECIFF by the Federal Minister before it could be declared an approved WTO
  • THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF QLD’S ECIFF (2008) EXPRESSED SERIOUS RESERVATIONS:
  • lack of species-specific catch data, 
  • gillnet fishing effort data insufficient for management,
  • inadequate data on net interactions with marine mammals,
  • very limited knowledge of the sustainable levels of catch,
  • risky indicators of stock abundance /sustainability,
  • risky level of precaution adopted,
  • some species at high risk of localised depletion,
  • depletions not always obvious when fishery assessments are based on methods used,
  • some significant gaps in a number of important areas,
  • lack of level of flexibility required for a World Heritage Area,
  • need to reduce complexity and ensure sustainability of species,
  • need for a fundamental rethink of the management approach.
  • THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE 2008 MINISTERIAL REVIEW OF THE ECIFF INCLUDED:
  • As a priority DPI&F should … seek broad public and scientific input on the use of spatial management … to reduce the potential for localised depletion of key species ... (findings to be implemented by 31 Dec. 2010 (any progress???)
  • THE NEW (2009) FISHERIES REGULATIONS WILL NOT HALT DEPLETION
  • The NSF “Review of Concerns ...”  publ. on line by Fishers for Conservation (FFC), Aug. 2010, 62pp. (see opposite) considered the new regulations and outlined why they will fail to halt the decline in inshore species, and considered
  • the fishery should not be declared an approved WTO in 2012 unless further changes are made.
  • NECESSARY CHANGES TO FISHERIES POLICY INCLUDE RECOGNIZING:
  • that iconic inshore fish stocks are depleted,
  • the need to afford greater protection to breeding stock, breeding grounds and nursery areas,
  • the need to naturally rebuild local fish stocks (not re-stocking with fingerlings),
  • the need for communities to make the best economic use of recovered fisheries e.g. through booming recreational fishing and tourism near urban centres, or mackerel being sold in prime condition as line caught table fish and not as cat food because of gluts in a boom-and-bust netting bonanza.
  • NECESSARY CHANGES TO FISHERIES QUEENSLAND ADMINISTRATION
  • Provision of additional short-term funding for a Qld Fisheries Review whereby world leaders in fisheries management review FQ and the ECIFF,
  • The Review to develop and introduce an optimal management framework whereby commercial  fishing effort is managed on a appropriately fine spatial scale,
  • Key positions within FQ to be re-advertised (incumbents may re-apply),
  • Formation of a Recreational & Charter Fishing Branch within FQ.
  • IMMEDIATE CHANGES TO THE ECIFF REQUIRED:
  • Smooth and partially smooth waters around key urban and tourism centres to be declared line fishing only (both commercial & rec), i.e. Urban & Tourism Net Free Areas,
  • All mackerel to be line only species with all by-catch of netted mackerel to be promptly discarded at sea (to close the loophole),
  • Restriction of netting effort by individuals on an appropriately fine spatial scale to encourage better husbandry of resources.
  • WHERE TO FROM HERE?
  • Further information is available from your local NSF co-ordinator and at www.ffc.org.au; see also www.sunfishqld.com.au
  • Please circulate this presentation on your local networks, and to clubs, local schools and especially your local politicians, in this an election year.
  • Additional NSF co-ordinators for areas not already covered are welcomed, please contact one of us.
  • There is no copyright to this presentation, you are free to adjust, cut and paste under the name of your own organisation or network as you may wish.
  • You can help make a difference. Please make the time to do so.                                                                  
  • REFERENCES
  • EPBC Act 1999, Section 303FN requires export fisheries to be managed in an ecologically sustainable way and approved as Wildlife Trading Operations,
  • Guidelines for the Ecologically Sustainable Management of Fisheries’, Ed. 2  (2007); see: www.environment.gov.au/coasts/fisheries/publications/pubs/guidelines.pdf;
  • The Independent Review of QLD ECIFF undertaken for the Federal Minister, 31/10/2008; see:  www.environment.gov.au/coasts/fisheries/qld/east-coast-finfish/index.html;
  • Conditions and recommendations placed on the ECIFF by the Federal Minister before it could be declared an approved WTO in 2009; see: www.environment.gov.au/coasts/fisheries/qld/east-coast-finfish/index.html
  • NSF, 2010.A review of concerns relating to the offshore gillnet fishery in the inshore waters of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in relation to the Guidelines for the Ecologically Sustainable Management of Fisheries with recommendations for early intervention. Ed. David Cook, NSF. Publ. Fishers for Conservation, 62pp; see: www.ffc.org.au/ Grey_Mackerel.html#latest