GREAT BARRIER REEF
// Outlook Report 2014
Commercial fishers continue to have a high attachment to their industry, and most have been involved in the industry for more than 20 years.48,49 Generally they are very reliant on the industry, with most fishers receiving more than 75 per cent of their household income from fishing.49,50 Commercial fishing is more than just a job for most fishers. In a 2008 survey of inshore commercial fishers in the Region, 63 per cent preferred to be at sea than on the land; 98 per cent stated they liked being a fisher; 93 per cent stated fishing is a lifestyle, not just their job; and 79 per cent felt proud to tell others they were a commercial fisher. Seventy per cent also stated they would still be fishing in three years.48 Recreational fishing is one of the most popular recreational pastimes in the Region, and contributed significantly to the $243.9 million2 generated by recreational users in 2011–12 (Table 5.1). People enjoy recreational fishing in the Region for many reasons, apart from the opportunity to catch local fresh fish. These include appreciating the Region’s natural beauty, opportunities for wildlife watching, personal relaxation, and opportunities to spend time with family and friends.51 Charter fishing operations provide opportunities for people to participate in recreational fishing within the Region and contribute to local economies.52 The Queensland shark control program provides protection to bathers by reducing the risk of a shark attack at popular swimming beaches.
Recreational fishing is one of the most popular pastimes in the Region.
Fisheries product from the Great Barrier Reef is important to local communities
5.4.3 Impacts of fishing
Fishing is the largest extractive use of the Region. The harvest of fisheries resources affects the abundance of targeted species and there are community and scientific concerns about the status of some targeted species.42,53,54 There are also concerns for the sustainability of fishing spawning aggregations, illegal fishing activity, discarded catch and marine debris associated with fishing activities. predators (such as coral trout, mackerel and sharks) make up about half of the retained catch in the four largest commercial fisheries (Figure 5.13), and make up a large percentage of recreational fishing catch27. The Queensland shark control program contributes to the extraction of predators; in the last decade between 521 and 716 sharks were removed each year from Queensland waters.55 The Outlook Report 2009 highlighted the limited information on the identity and quantum of different shark species caught in the East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fishery and the general impacts of fishing on some species of sharks and rays. A wide range of shark species is captured by, or interacts with, fisheries (and the shark control program) in the Region and there is a paucity of information about the status of their populations. The most recent annual fisheries stock status report assesses the collective grouping of shark species harvested in the Region as ‘undefined’.42 Several of the species taken in the East Coast Inshore Fin Fish Fishery are now not considered at high risk from fishing. However, some species at risk are still being caught such as the green sawfish, Australian blacktip and pigeye shark.41 In 2005, an estimated 182,000 sharks were caught by recreational fishers in Queensland, with a release rate of approximately 84 per cent.56 Pink snapper are classified as ‘overfished’42, and the stock status of coral trout was downgraded in 2012 from ‘sustainably fished’ to ‘uncertain’ due to depressed catches and catch rates.42 The stock status of over half the 65 Queensland east coast fisheries resources that have been assessed are currently classified as
The status of most targeted species is not well known.