The World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia today welcomed the announcement that the Queensland Government has passed new sustainable fisheries regulations.
“These long awaited reforms are a welcome step in the right direction and provide for catches of target species such as barramundi and mud crabs to be capped at sustainable levels,” said WWF-Australia Sustainable Fisheries Project Manager Simon Miller.
“Our Reef continues to be threatened by unsustainable fishing practices and these reforms when fully implemented will go some way to reducing fisheries impacts on the delicate Reef.
“However, these regulations only go so far and gill net bycatch of threatened species remains a key issue. These nets are indiscriminate killers that have no place in the pristine waters of the northern Great Barrier Reef.
“That’s why WWF is calling for this outdated and unsustainable fishing practice to be banned between Cooktown and the Torres Strait, to protect one of the last globally significant strongholds for dugongs and sawfish.
“WWF is urging the Queensland Government to prioritise the purchase of these licences as part of a $10m structural adjustment package for the commercial fishing industry to support the transition to the new regulations.
“WWF is also calling for the urgent implementation of an observer program or electronic monitoring of high risk Queensland fisheries, as required by the Commonwealth government through conditions on a number of Queensland fisheries export accreditations.
“At present we simply do not know the extent of interactions with our iconic threatened species. WWF, GBRMPA and other organisations suspect that the number of protected animals dying in commercial fishing gear is far higher than what is reported,” Mr Miller said.