Before getting into the news post the image accompanying the post is the outcome of a single recreational fishing trip. This amount of fish was generated amongst 4 recreational fishers with a limit of 20 fish per person. All legal of course which begs the following questions, (1) what do we really know about the amount of fish caught by recreational fishers in any given year, and (2) can you really argue that this much fish is for personal consumption.
The letter below was published in Bush ‘n Beach Fishing magazine on 13 December 2019. I am often asked, ‘why not reach out and work with recreational fishing groups?’ The answer is in the letter below and its worth unpacking the statements attributed to the Chairman of Sunfish Moreton Branch.
Letter from Sunfish to Fisheries Minister regarding commercial fishers
DEAR Minister, I understand the Bill to go to Cabinet on December 9, 2019 to progress the commercial allocation process for he Harvest Strategy has been further delayed.
It is very important to get this Bill into the January sitting to be progressed. The recreational sector has co-operated with the process and has accepted a large reduction in catch of both snapper and pearl perch which could be as high as half their catch in an effort to conserve these species.
Now we hear the commercial sector is not supporting their part of this process. The plan will not work if only the recreational sector is restricted.
Please do not allow the commercial sector to derail this sustainable management process. The LNP will side with the commercial fishing sector as they always do, but this is one of the reasons they have occupied the opposition benches for so long.
Chairman Sunfish Moreton Branch
Article link: Letter from Sunfish to Fisheries Minister regarding commercial fishers
Let’s unpack this letter.
1. Impacts of the so-called reform on recreational fishers
The letter states, ‘The recreational sector has co-operated with the process and has accepted a large reduction in catch of both snapper and pearl perch which could be as high as half their catch in an effort to conserve these species’. what other impacts has the sector endured – none.
Here’s the accountability breakdown:
- Fisheries Queensland have no idea how much of an impact recreational fishers have on any species they are allowed to target.
- Fisheries Queensland have develop this so-called reform process with a view to minimal impact on the recreational sector because of the politics involved this industry.
- It’s difficult to source rules and regulations that recreational fishers must follow when it comes to catch and release. The simple answer is they don’t exist and maybe the public and other recreational fishers might start to wonder why?
2. Opposition to the so-called reform process
The Gulf of Carpentaria Commercial Fisherman’s Association, the Moreton Bay Seafood Industry Association and the Queensland Seafood Industry Association have opposed this so-called reform process almost from Day 1. Like most reforms in the past the focus is on commercial harvest almost exclusively.
The following claim is made by the Chairman of Sunfish Moreton Branch , ‘Now we hear the commercial sector is not supporting their part of this process. The plan will not work if only the recreational sector is restricted’. Your sector is not being restricted to the degree commercial fishers are being impacted.
How would the average recreational fisher cope losing 50 percent of their income as a result of a so-called reform process? You could ask this question of the Minister or Fisheries Queensland public servants.
3. Sustainable Management?
The Chairman of Sunfish Moreton Branch stated, ‘Please do not allow the commercial sector to derail this sustainable management process’.
This industry does not have fisheries management that are focussed on anything but pandering to their political masters. Fisheries Queensland will do what it is instructed to do by the government of the day, this is normal and to be expected.
However, what is also expected is that fisheries Queensland provide fearless and frank advice to government which makes the following confusing: (a) a 60 percent biomass figure which no other jurisdiction in the world uses to manage its fisheries, (b) no modelling on the impact of the so-called reform process on commercial fishing businesses or post-harvest businesses and (c) the perpetuation of the myth that are fisheries are not sustainable.
We are in the fight of our lives to ensure our industry maintains viable micro and small businesse across coastal, regional and remote Queensland. The Chairman and his members do not fish to maintain a business or employ locals, you use the marine recourse for leisure.
What you and groups like yours forget is that this industry connects with the tourism and food service sectors. The seafood buying public doesn’t enter into your view either.
This State needs new direction and a nuanced discussion around the importance of food production in our industry versus the focus on the recreational fishing experience.
Image: Recreational fishing trip catch
This message is endorsed by and proudly brought to you by the QSIA under the Qld 2020 campaign in the interests of achieving better fisheries management for industry and the community. Qld 2020 is about: a fair go – for food producers, their families and regional / coastal small business job creators.