Fishers focus on future feasibility
Developing an electronic data collection system for commercial fishers will be high on the agenda when commercial fishers, and government and industry representatives meet in Townsville this week.
Fishers from Gladstone to Cooktown participating in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's (GBRMPA) Reef Guardian Fishers program will discuss the system and other best practice activities.
GBRMPA Reef Guardians Director Karen Vohland said the electronic data collection devices would help to improve fisheries management and allow for more responsive and accurate analysis.
"The devices record detailed information on catch, effort and fishing locations and may even provide the opportunity to move towards electronic logbooks," she said.
"There are also opportunities for the fine scale electronic data for individual fishing operations to be used to assist individual fishers in managing their fishing operations."
Following a successful trial with the Reef Line Fishery in 2011, there are now plans to expand the trial into other commercial fishing sectors.
Ms Vohland said the electronic devices offered a simpler way for commercial fishers to collect data than the existing logbook system.
"The data is recorded electronically so it can be made available more readily and more cost effectively than current systems," she said.
"Fishers were able to gather more detailed effort data during the trial and use this information to form a better understanding of what is happening in their business."
The Reef Guardian Fishers Working Group and Steering Committee meetings bring together commercial fishers, GBRMPA representatives, and industry delegates from organisations such as Fisheries Queensland and Queensland Seafood Industry Association.
Launched in 2011, the Reef Guardian Fishers program currently encompasses the Reef Line Fishery and the Marine Aquarium Fish and Coral Collection Fishery.
Participants in the pilot program are recognised for their commitment to building the resilience of the Reef through sustainable fishing practices that go beyond legislative requirements.
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