Pros push for longtail bycatch increase

In a move set to further strain relations between rec fishos and commercial netters in North Queensland (see related story here), Fisheries Queensland has proposed a review of the allowable netting by-catch of northern bluefin (longtail) tuna in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

The review proposes the raising of the current bycatch limit of 10 fish to a 500kg total – based on an average sized 5kg tuna this represents a tenfold or 1000 per cent increase.

With news of the development only coming to light late last week, questions have been raised concerning a lack of consultation with rec fishing bodies on such a controversial move. The news also leaves little time for concerned stakeholders to lodge review submissions, with the closing date for submissions being November 1.  

Fisheries Queensland says it is in the process of reviewing the management arrangements which apply in the Gulf of Carpentaria Inshore Fin Fish Fishery and has released a regulatory impact statement (RIS) outlining proposed changes. In preliminary consultation, commercial netters have asked for the longtail bycatch increase due to the fish being “incidentally caught whilst targeting grey mackerel and any fish taken in excess of the current trip limit of 10 are discarded dead.”

With the jurisdiction for tuna management in Queensland waters lying with the Commonwealth, any such change to the current limit would need to be enacted through an amendment to the Memorandum of understanding between the Commonwealth of Australia and the state of Queensland.

Such a change has to be supported through the public consultation process for Fisheries Queensland to formally approach the Commonwealth for an amendment to the MOU. To lodge a submission on a review of the Fishery and proposed changes you have until 1 November 2010. For more information go to the Fisheries Queensland website, or by contact (07) 3225 1855.

Fisho will keep you updated on any developments.

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