GREAT BARRIER REEF
// Outlook Report 2014
approximately 65 per cent of catchment residents who had recently visited the Region in a boat went fishing.26 A 2010 state-wide survey estimated that 703,000 residents went fishing in the 12 months prior to June 2010, capturing approximately 13.3 million individual fish, including a diverse range of bony fishes and sharks, skates and rays.27 Coral trout, redthroat emperor, tropical snapper, morwong and sweetlip were commonly caught.27 The most common recreational fishing method (80 per cent) was line fishing (including the use of baited hooks and lures), followed by fishing with pots (13 per cent).27 Together, fishing and collecting with cast nets, pumps and spades, diving using spears, and hand collection comprised only seven per cent of all fishing effort.27 It is estimated that the recreational sector has more non-retained catch than that retained.5 The 2010 survey indicated that people were catching fewer fish for a similar level of effort compared to a decade ago.27 This may reflect lower abundances or reduced accessibility to some target species in the last decade. The availability of larger, more affordable and more fuel efficient vessels, combined with improvements in safety, mean recreational fishers are likely to be fishing further from the mainland and in more isolated areas. Strong growth in regional communities (see Section 6.2) is likely to increase the number of recreational fishers. charter fishing The average annual retained catch for charter fishing was slightly lower in the period 2009 to 2012 (357 tonnes retained, 162 tonnes discarded) compared to the period 2005 to 2008 (413 tonnes retained, 241 tonnes discarded), and the number of charter fishing days recorded decreased by around 2200 days per year.28
Recreational fishing catch rates may be declining.
Coral trout are commonly caught by recreational fishers
Shark control program Since 1962, the Queensland shark control program has been implemented to minimise the risk of a shark attack on bathers in popular swimming locations by employing a combination of nets and drumlines. At the time of the Outlook Report 2009 there was capacity for 10 nets (five in Cairns, five in Mackay) and 317 drumlines within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Since then, five nets have been removed from Cairns and replaced with 14 drumlines. The five nets in Mackay remain. There are currently up to 191 drumlines deployed at any one time within the World Heritage Area. The total of drumlines and nets varies — for example one net at Mackay is withdrawn during the marine turtle nesting season and replaced with six additional drumlines. commercial fishing Of the major commercial fisheries in the Region, trawl, net, line and pot remain the largest. The spatial distributions of fishing effort for these fisheries in the Region are presented in Figure 5.10. The retained commercial catch in the Region was about 7900 tonnes of fisheries product in 2012 (Table 5.2). These four fisheries together retained about 7300 tonnes in 2012, a decrease of about a thousand tonnes from 2007.28 The coral and marine aquarium supply fishery catch has remained fairly stable since 2007 (Table 5.2). There is concern about the amount of biomass discarded and returned to the sea globally.29 Preliminary analysis for the Region presented in the Outlook Report 2009 suggested that the non-retained catch by commercial fisheries is likely to be very much higher than that retained, with the trawl fishery still responsible for most of the commercial non-retained catch.5 However, with no contemporary data on most fisheries bycatch and discards, knowledge about the quantum of non-retained catch in the Great Barrier Reef has not improved and uncertainty remains high.
The major commercial fisheries operating in the Region are trawl, net, line and pot.
Knowledge about bycatch and discards is poor.