The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has welcomed today’s announcement by the Queensland LNP opposition that, if it wins the October election, it will spend $8.5 million on much needed measures to improve the sustainability of fishing in the State.
The LNP has acknowledged that fishing pressure in the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef is unsustainable, and that bold, funded steps need to be taken, including a voluntary fishing license buyback scheme that would remove some gillnets from the Reef.
AMCS campaign manager Tooni Mahto said she was pleased to see the party recognise the need to step up protections from fishing for threatened marine life in our Reef and called on all parties to commit to much needed reform across all the State’s fisheries.
“Fishing on our iconic Reef must be managed to gold standards but sadly, gillnetting means that threatened and endangered sea life like dugongs, snubfin dolphins and turtles are accidentally caught and killed,” said Ms Mahto.
“We welcome the LNP’s commitment to buy out fishing licences because currently there are too many licences to fish on our Reef. Environmental groups, recreational fishers and the commercial industry itself have been calling for buy outs, which are an essential part of urgently needed root and branch reforms in Queensland.
“The commitments signal a step forward on the long road to making fishing in the Reef less environmentally damaging and create economically viable fisheries.
“AMCS calls on Queensland Labor to also commit to funding buyouts of fishing licenses in the Great Barrier Reef and reducing the risk of fishing to endangered marine wildlife.
“Our Reef is under more pressure than ever from climate change and water pollution. Easing fishing burdens is crucial to helping build the Reef’s resilience to warming waters.”
AMCS also supports the LNP’s plan to improve seafood labelling but Ms Mahto said there are currently limited opportunities to promote sustainable seafood caught from our Reef.
“A lot of Queensland seafood including snapper, wild caught prawns and barramundi are currently red listed in our GoodFish sustainable seafood guide because of issues like overfishing, poor management and environmental risks,” she said.
“What we need to hear from all parties heading into the Queensland election are funded commitments to significant reforms, including independent monitoring on fishing vessels, better protection for endangered wildlife, stopping fishing for critically endangered scalloped hammerhead sharks and better control of fishing effort.
“The Newman government recognised the need for significant reform of Queensland fisheries and laid the foundations for the Palaszczuk government’s Sustainable Fisheries Strategy currently in place. We call on all parties to commit to continue the reform agenda to take Queensland fisheries into a sustainable future.”