Commercial and non-commercial use
The accreditation process is designed to assess the environmental performance of fisheries and promote ecologically sustainable management. All accreditations in the Region are subject to conditions and recommendations. Since the Outlook Report 2009, a competitive annual total allowable commercial catch for shark species has been introduced. In addition, collection of basic information about shark species that interact with this fishery has improved39,40,41 with stock assessments of selected shark species taken in this fishery due for completion in 201442. However, fishers’ logbook reporting is no longer verified following cessation of the independent fishery observer program and there are no mechanisms to warn that the annual total allowable commercial catch is close to being reached. Recreational fishing is subject to gear restrictions, size and possession limits and seasonal closures. Charter fishing operations operating in the Marine Park require both a Queensland licence and a Marine Parks permit. Some fish spawning aggregations are protected by seasonal closures under Queensland Government legislation or by marine park zoning. Fisheries management arrangements are subject to ongoing amendment. Over the past 20 years, there have been extensive changes with the aim of improving the sustainability of the state’s fisheries. Key reforms have been around reducing and constraining capacity and the introduction of the legal mechanisms to enable continuous improvement in management. Examples include: • Capping commercial fishing licences and fishery symbols over recent decades has led to a steady decrease in the number available; however, some latency and overcapacity issues remain for some fisheries in the Region. • The number of participants and fishing days in the otter trawl fishery has more than halved since the late 1990s (Figure 5.12). Reforms in this fishery, principally in 2000, included the introduction of effort units into the fishery, satellite tracking of vessels, and a number of gear changes including mandatory use of turtle excluder devices. • The first two phases of the Queensland Government voluntary netting buyback scheme had, in early 2014, bought back 69 commercial netting symbols plus a number of other fishery symbols. • Management reforms to the Coral Reef Fin Fish Fishery in 2004 and the East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fishery in 2009. A major review of the Queensland Government’s fisheries management arrangements was announced in March 2014. Through the joint Field Management Program, the Australian and Queensland governments work cooperatively in fisheries compliance in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, including surveillance and other enforcement activities. Fisheries compliance staff operate from eight bases adjacent to the Region.
5.4.2 Benefits of fishing