BIG FISHING CHANGES: Fisheries Minister Mark Furner, centre, outlines the proposed reforms to the state's fishing industry, which would include new limits on certain fish species and dividing trawler regions.
BIG FISHING CHANGES: Fisheries Minister Mark Furner, centre, outlines the proposed reforms to the state's fishing industry, which would include new limits on certain fish species and dividing trawler regions. Blake Antrobus

Controversial reforms proposed for fishing industry

LOWER possession limits for fish and crab species are among a raft of new regulations the Queensland Government is proposing for the fishing industry.

The controversial reforms, which would bring heavier regulation of the recreational and commercial fishing industry, were revealed in Maryborough this week.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the proposed changes aimed to create a "sustainable fisheries culture and industry” in the future.

The reforms propose splitting the trawl industry into five regions, imposing quotas on crab and fish species and introducing bycatch-reduction devices, among other recommendations.

Hoped to be implemented in September, the changes recommend in-possession limits for mud crabs to change to 6-10 crabs.

It also proposes to ban the use of lightweight crabpots that are easily lost in the environment.

"The overwhelming message from stakeholders to a number of reviews since 2014 is that fisheries management must change,” Mr Furner said.

"Doing nothing is not an option when the current system is not working.”

But the shake-up to fishing regulation has caused industry concern.

The Queensland Seafood Industry Association said the reform process was causing increasing stress among fishers.

In a survey on the reform process, QSIA found 94 per cent of respondents thought it was rushed and 96 per cent had concerns with how Queensland Fisheries engaged with the industry.

It also found 80 per cent of respondents said they had considered leaving the industry as a result of the reform process.

Mr Furner said the proposed reforms considered input from all sectors since the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy's release in June 2017.

He said a directions paper on fisheries reform was the next step to implement the Queensland Sustainable Fisheries Strategy.

"We share this resource, it is a Queensland resource everyone enjoys and we need to make sure it's sustainable into the future,” he said.

You can have a say on the issue when the proposed changes are released for feedback in April.



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