Council calls for State fishing reforms

Council has called for limits to commercial pipi fishing on the North Shore, as well as a weekend closure to commercial mullet fishing, plus caps on commercial fishers’ net lengths.

“The Noosa lakes are the only spot in Queensland where commercial fisherman can use nets of up to 1.5km long,” Cr Frank Pardon said.

“We’re asking the State to bring that in line with the rest of coastal waters in Queensland where the lengths are capped at 600m.

“Closing the North Shore to commercial mullet fishers on weekends will go a long way to reducing conflict between commercial fisherman and recreational fishers.

“Ultimately our aim is to ensure Noosa’s fishery remains sustainable. As I say to commercial fisherman – when you can’t catch a fish in your net, no one will be able to catch one.”

A Council-commissioned options paper – Noosa’s Fishing Futures – informed the submission, which responds to the Queensland Department of Agriculture & Fisheries, Discussion paper: Proposed amendments to the Fisheries Regulation 2008.

The Noosa’s Fishing Futures report will also inform the draft Noosa River Plan, due to go out for comment later this year.

“No less than four fisheries experts have peer reviewed the Noosa’s Fishing Futures report, so it’s been a very robust process, well supported by experts in their field,” Cr Pardon said.

The report’s author reviewed legislation, management arrangements and fish catch data and also interviewed stakeholders such as commercial and recreational fisherman, restaurants, charter companies, plus local conservation and community groups.

“Action to ensure a sustainable fishery has to be done hand-in-hand with the State Government, working together with industry,” Cr Pardon said.

“This is the start of a journey, and if we can get the State to adopt some of Council’s recommendations we will have a more sustainable fishery.”

A 2015 historical study by Dr Ruth Thurstan confirmed a decline in oysters and fish stocks in the Noosa River over many years.

Cr Pardon said a recent report which found a significant decline in benthic invertebrates in the river raised further alarm bells as to the pressure the waterway faced.

The Noosa River Plan will consider further proposals to improve the biodiversity of our river system. Consultation on the draft River Plan will occur over coming months.

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