Coral fishery

Fishery area

The Queensland coral fishery is a hand collection harvest fishery operating along the Queensland east coast, from the tip of Cape York to the southern border of the Great Barrier Reef. Fishing can take place within permitted zones of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Harvesting is also permitted, for some authority holders in 2 small areas in South East Queensland waters.

The fishery operates under the fishery symbol D.

Target species

The fishery targets a broad range of species from the classes Anthozoa and Hydrozoa. Key components include:

  • hard corals
  • soft corals
  • sea anemones
  • live rock (dead coral skeletons with algae and other organisms living on them)
  • coral rubble (coarsely broken up coral fragments)
  • coral sand (finely ground-up particles of coral skeleton, which fishers can only take as incidental catch and must not target in marine park waters).

Fishing gear

Coral is commercially harvested by hand using underwater breathing apparatus (hookah or scuba) and non-mechanical handheld implements.

Management arrangements

  • The fishery has limited entry:
    • 59 licences with D symbol.
  • Fishers must have a primary commercial fishing licence and a D symbol to operate in the fishery.
  • The person in charge of an operation must hold a commercial fisher licence to operate under a primary commercial fishing licence.
  • There is a total allowable commercial catch and individual transferable quota units are allocated to each licence (based on the 2 broad categories of 'speciality coral' and 'other coral').
  • If taking specialty coral (DS), fishers must also hold other coral (DO) quota to allow for the 25% trimming factor for substrate.
  • A1 (marine aquarium fish) and D symbols can be fished together on the same fishing trip provided that both symbols are on the same primary commercial fishing licence.
  • Up to 3 divers can operate under a licence at any one time.
  • Fishers can use 1 primary boat plus 1 other boat (tender boat).
  • Transhipment between primary vessels under the same authority name or to a transport vessel can occur provided the transhipment of catch is reported correctly.
  • Coral cannot be trimmed at sea and must be landed as collected.
  • Coral cannot be returned to the water once it is removed.

Reporting and monitoring

Commercial fishers must comply with a number of reporting requirements.

In summary, fishers must:

Commercial fishers must also have vessel tracking on their boats to monitor compliance with regulations.

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