Fisheries harvest strategy policy released

Fisheries Queensland released the Queensland Harvest Strategy Policy and associated guidelines.

Development of harvest strategies for all major Queensland fisheries is a commitment under the $20 million Sustainable Fisheries Strategy.

Fisheries Queensland will be working with stakeholders to develop harvest strategies for Queensland’s fisheries, with a priority on trawl, crab and east coast inshore fisheries initially.

The policy and guidelines set out the key policy objectives, process for developing harvest strategies and what they need to cover. The policy and guidelines have been reviewed and endorsed by the Sustainable Fisheries Expert Panel.

“Fishery working groups will be meeting before the end of 2017 to start work on their harvest strategies.

“Fishery working groups will play a vital role in identifying objectives, timeframes, indicators, reference points and decision rules that form the basis of a fishery’s harvest strategy.

“The Sustainable Fisheries Expert Panel will also peer review draft harvest strategies.”

Fisheries Queensland executive director Claire Andersen said harvest strategies would set out pre-determined management actions depending on the performance of the fishery and would provide a transparent and repeatable decision making framework for fisheries management.

“Harvest strategies will give all stakeholders certainty about what management actions will be taken depending on what the data tells us about the state of the fish stock,” Ms Andersen said.

“This will help deliver more responsive decision-making based on scientific evidence, and avoid having to take more drastic management action when the stock is in a more seriously depleted state.”

The adoption of harvest strategies for all of Queensland’s fisheries is consistent with contemporary best practice fisheries management principles and helps address a number of comments from stakeholders, particularly:

  • A desire for greater certainty and predictability around fisheries decision making
  • The importance of setting sustainable catch limits for each fish stock
  • A focus on evidence-based decisions
  • A more proactive approach to management where emerging issues are addressed before drastic action is required; and
  • A desire for greater clarity in regards to the future aspirations and management objectives for Queensland’s fisheries.

Harvest strategies will cover all sectors – commercial, recreational and indigenous – and will set out the existing allocation between sectors.

“Decision rules in harvest strategies may include things like increasing or decreasing commercial quota, bag limits or changing seasonal closures if trigger points are reached,” Ms Andersen said.

Ms Andersen said once a draft harvest strategy has been developed it will be released for public comment for at least 28 days and finalised taking into account feedback.

Source: QLD Government