Improved data collection a key to future

Improved data on stocks of iconic Queensland marine and fish species, including coral trout, mangrove jack, scallops, snapper and eastern king prawns will be part of the Fisheries Monitoring and Research Plan.

A priority action of the Queensland Fisheries Sustainable Fisheries Strategy, the development of a Monitoring and Research Plan responds to overwhelming stakeholder demand for better data and information to support an improved and more responsive fisheries management framework.

“The plan outlines improved data collection, and identifies and prioritises monitoring, research and assessment needs to support the implementation of the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy,” Fisheries Queensland executive director Claire Andersen said.

“The Monitoring and Research Plan provides an overview of existing monitoring and assessment work as well as identifying priorities for additional investment being delivered as part of the $20 million Sustainable Fisheries Strategy.

Fisheries Queensland already collects a significant amount of information through existing monitoring programs including vessel tracking systems, commercial logbook programs, recreational boat ramp surveys, fishery independent surveys, fishery dependent catch surveys, and an array of biological data collection and data analysis programs.

“Almost $3 million will be invested over the next 3 years for additional biological monitoring and research which will build upon our existing monitoring programs.“

“Key monitoring investments under the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy include two new fisheries independent trawl surveys for scallops, blue swimmer crabs, Moreton Bay bugs, eastern king prawns, tiger prawns and juvenile snapper.

“Also, additional investment is being made in recreational and commercial catch monitoring for Coral Reef Fin Fish Other Species quota species such as red emperor and nannygai.”

Fisheries Queensland has also commenced work with researchers and industry to collect better information on shark species catch composition, age and size structure and discards.

Additional data is also being collected on other fish stocks of interest such as recovering stocks of mangrove jack in the northern Gulf of Carpentaria and stocks of blue threadfin salmon statewide.

Vessel tracking is also being rolled out to all commercial fishing vessels by 2020 to better record commercial fishing effort and location information.

“We are working with industry to trial new vessel tracking technologies and discuss the vessel tracking rules so they are appropriate for smaller inshore vessels”.

“The privacy of fisher’s data will be protected and individual location information will only be provided to compliance partners for enforcement purposes, never publicly”.

The Monitoring and Research Plan also prioritises the development of cost effective monitoring programs for the collection of fisheries social and economic data, as well as an additional statewide survey to estimate recreational catch and effort.

“The plan also has a focus on more regular stocks assessments so we can make more responsive fisheries management decisions”.

Fisheries Queensland will continue to work with other monitoring and research partners, including organisations such as the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.

Fisheries data will also be made more accessible online so it can be used by other monitoring groups – for example the Reef 2050 Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program and regional waterway report card programs.

Source: QLD Government