Green paper gets green welcome for fisheries reform
THE Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has welcomed the release of the long awaited and already controversial Queensland Government Green Paper on fisheries reform.
"This is an opportunity for Queensland to become a world leader in fisheries management," AMCS Fisheries Campaigner Josh Coates said.
"A highlight is the proposal to move fish population targets to 60 per cent unfished biomass," he said.
Current targets, which he said could be as low as 30 per cent of some fish populations, were a 'living on the edge' approach to sustainable fish populations and future yields.
Once achieved these targets would represent a win-win for the environment and fishing, he said.
"Meeting these targets would mean more fish, supporting catches that are not significantly different to those taken today.
"However with more fish overall, the catch will be much easier to take. That means increased profitability for commercial fishers, more productive fishing for recreational fishers and a healthier ecosystem for both target and non-target species.
"If adopted this would be a huge shift to a modern, ecologically sustainable approach.
"There are many positive proposals for reform in the Green Paper that already have community support, such as stronger compliance powers and more significant penalties for fisheries offences.
"Queenslanders have an expectation that our fish resources are managed to world-class standards so there's fish for future generations.
"Currently Queensland's fisheries management leaves significant room for improvement. The Green Paper is an opportunity to positively reform the industry.
"AMCS encourages all Queenslanders to have their say on the Green Paper," he said.
Commercial fishing interests have expressed some concerns about some recently suggested methods of fishery management in the plan but, like conservationists, have also urged Queenslanders to look closely at the plan.