The Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol (QBFP) and commercial fishers are meeting throughout the state to join forces to tackle the key compliance issues facing the industry.
Commercial fishers use a range of practices to ensure they fish sustainably
QBFP Manager Ian Fricke said the meetings would help target the patrol’s efforts in protecting Queensland’s fisheries.
'So far meetings have been held in Brisbane, the Burdekin and Mooloolaba with line, net, crab and trawl fishers,' said Mr Fricke.
'QBFP addresses a range of fishing issues on a day-to-day basis, but with industry’s input we can prioritise where they need our assistance.
'Key issues facing commercial fishing vary between sectors and areas, but they uniformly battle public misconceptions about the sustainability of their practices.
'QBFP often receive calls from people concerned about commercial fishers operating in certain areas, but they are usually legally allowed to fish there under their licence.
'Commercial fishers use a range of practices to ensure they fish sustainably, such as bycatch reduction devices to reduce capture of non-target species, catch limits and seasonal closures for spawning.'
Mr Fricke said commercial fishers also struggle with illegal practices that affect their bottom line.
'Black marketing of seafood by unlicensed individuals, and theft and interference with crab pots, undermines a commercial fisher’s ability to supply product throughout the state,' he said.
'QBFP routinely undertake surveillance operations to catch black marketers and illegal fishing, but we rely on tip offs from the public.
'The community can help by doing the right thing and reporting suspected illegal fishing to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116.
'By working together, we can help safeguard our fisheries resources and continue to enjoy local seafood on our dinner plates.'
Commercial fishers can contact their local QBFP office for details on when the next meeting for their fishery will be held.
People witnessing what they suspect to be an illegal fishing activity should:
* record the date, time and area of where the activity is occurring;
* record any vehicle registration numbers and their descriptions;
* record any boat registration numbers and their descriptions;
* give the details of the person or people involved if they are known;
* give an accurate description of the activity involved; and
* ring the hotline to pass on this information.
Suspected illegal fishing activities should be reported to the 24-hour toll-free Fishwatch Hotline on 1800 017 116.
For more information on commercial fishing in Queensland, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.
Follow Fisheries Queensland on Facebook and Twitter (@FisheriesQld).