The following is a letter sent to Mark Furner, Queensland Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. Fisheries Queensland is trialling digital technology.
The Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA) does not support the imposition of camera or similar technology on commercial fishing vessels. An acceptance of this cost burden in the future is an insult to industry and the product of green washed public servants and politicians influenced by conservation groups.
No industry would accept this level of intrusion in how they operate.
4 March 2020
Minister Mark Furner MP
Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
PO Box 46
BRISBANE QLD 4001
Re: Introduction of Digital Technology amongst the Queensland Commercial Fishing Fleet
On behalf of the Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA) I would like to draw your attention to the long-term agenda under the Wildlife Trade Operation (WTO) requirement to introduce digital technology across our fleets. I understand that long-term goal is the introduction of third-party verification of catch and/or interactions with species of conservation interest (SOCI).
I am puzzled that at a time when the commercial fishing industry is dealing with the impacts of Coronavirus and a fisheries reform process that Fisheries Queensland is powering ahead with trailing digital technology on commercial fishing vessels. This Association is opposed to the introduction of digital technology (e.g. cameras) to monitor commercial fishers.
Industry was forced to accept the regulatory cost and burden of vessel monitoring systems (VMS). The use of VMS was described as a form of ‘Nanny State’ policy making. The potential introduction of camera technology across our fleets is a step too far. No fair-minded Australian worker would accept the continuous monitoring of their work or any aspect of their work day by a third party acting on behalf of government or government directly.
I have been an active member of the East Coast Inshore Fishery Working Group and Fisheries Queensland have claimed that WTO accreditation will force the introduction of digital observers (through digital cameras). It is more than clear that this technology has been championed by conservation groups. At some stage our political leaders and fisheries management need to end what feels like continuous gaslighting and persecution of my industry.
There are many issues that need consideration:
- Regulatory burden with yet another operating cost.
- Public signal from government of no trust in the commercial fishing industry.
- Third-party collection of individual business data.
- No other user of the marine resource will be burden by this technology – I doubt charter, recreational or Indigenous fishers would be subjected to the indignity of being forced to film their activities.
I am fully aware that the development of WTO conditions is initiated by the Federal Government. The Association has indicated its position to members – we do not support the introduction of video technology across the Queensland commercial fishing fleet. It appears Fisheries Queensland supports the trial of camera technology and I can only conclude your government also supports this ridiculous approach to managing our fisheries.
If you have any questions regarding this correspondence please contact Eric Perez, QSIA CEO on M: 0417 631 353 or E: [email protected]
Queensland Seafood Industry Association
Author: Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA).
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.