‘Black market will flourish’: Fisherman’s quota concerns
A COMMERCIAL fisherman is concerned the black market for black jewfish will thrive due to new quotas for the fishery.
Urangan Fisheries’ Lyle Barry said the new quota for the black jewfish fishery of 20 tonnes statewide was reached in just six weeks after being introduced on May 1.
The new catch limit was among the reforms announced by Department of Agriculture Fisheries earlier this year in a bid to make the state’s seafood sector more sustainable.
But Mr Barry said the introduction of a quota for the black jewfish was not the right way to manage the fishery.
He said previously his business had caught 20 tonnes of the species in one year, but his new quota was two tonnes.
In previous years he said 140 tonnes were caught throughout the state.
The fishery will reopen in the new year but Mr Barry said this could cause further problems because it will be in the middle of spawning season.
“The move (to quotas) is in the right direction but it has been implemented incorrectly,” Mr Barry said.
“Close the fishery, let the fish spawn, put a reasonable quota on it so fishermen can still retain their livelihoods.”
He said although his business was diverse the significant quota reduction was hitting his back pocket.
He was also concerned about how the smaller quotas would impact consumers.
“I honestly believe the black market will flourish,” he said.
“If the product is unavailable the consumer is forced to go elsewhere.”
A Fisheries Queensland spokesman said if changes had not been made “there will be no fish and there will be no fishing industry”.
“Unlike most other states, Queensland does not have commercial catch limits for many of our iconic species, ” he said.
“By introducing catch limits for these fish, we can help ensure fish for the future.”
However Queensland Seafood Industry Association chief executive officer Eric Perez said there was no sustainability issue with 95 per cent of fisheries.
“The reason they’ve gone down this pathway is because they’ve had pressure from green groups,” Mr Perez said.