WWF-Australia and the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) said the sustainable fisheries strategy announced today by the Queensland Government is a win for fish stocks, protected species and the marine environment.
More than 12000 WWF and AMCS supporters sent emails highlighting the need for change over the last three years.
“The Queensland government has listened to the public who want fish stocks restored, better protection for threatened species like turtles and dugong, and a healthy fishing industry,” said WWF-Australia fisheries spokesperson Jim Higgs.
“The aim of returning fish populations to 60% of their natural level before fishing occurred recognises the role fish play in the marine environment.
“Restoring fish stocks is one of the ways we can improve the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef.
“Increased fish numbers will also boost commercial and recreational fishing and the tourism industry,” he said.
Both organisations welcomed the commitment to extend electronic vessel tracking to all commercial fishing.
“People will be able to have confidence that fishing is not occurring in protected areas and this will level the playing field for commercial fishers who do the right thing,” said AMCS spokesperson Josh Coates.
“We regularly see reports of repeat offenders caught fishing in closed areas.
“The electronic tracking of the commercial trawl fleet stopped this type of behaviour in this fishery almost overnight and we are hopeful a similar situation occurs for the remaining Queensland commercial fisheries currently not monitored.
"It is also pleasing to see the commitment to an increase in the number of compliance officers for regional areas, which will help build public confidence in the implementation of these reforms," he said.
WWF-Australia and AMCS also strongly endorse the new strategy’s commitment to “better science”.
New technologies on commercial fishing vessels will give accurate information about how many threatened species like turtles and dugongs are being accidentally caught – and where this is happening – leading to better protection strategies.
WWF-Australia and AMCS called for support from all parties to ensure the reforms continue and are adequately funded over the coming decade.
Through stakeholder engagement, both organisations look forward to helping implement the new strategy.
WWF-Australia Media Contact:
Mark Symons, Senior Media Officer, 0400 985 571