Sea cucumber fishery

Fishery area

The commercial sea cucumber (beche-de-mer) fishery area consists of all tidal waters east of longitude 142°31'49"E between latitude 10°41'S and latitude 26°S (parallel to the southern limit of Tin Can Bay). In practice, however, waters south of the Great Barrier Reef are rarely fished.

The fishery is designated by the fishery symbol B1.

Logbooks

Commercial fishers operating in Queensland's state-managed fisheries are required to complete daily catch and effort logbooks. These logbooks detail where, when and how fishing took place, and what was caught.

You can view the following logbook for the commercial beche-de-mer harvest fishery:

Target species

The major commercially harvested sea cucumber species include:

  • blackfish (Actinopyga palauensis)
  • burrowing blackfish (Actinopyga spinea)
  • sandfish (Holothuria scabra)
  • white teatfish (Holothuria fuscogilva)
  • prickly redfish (Thelenota ananas).

Fishing gear

Sea cucumbers are harvested mainly by divers breathing surface-supplied air from hookah equipment and, to a lesser extent, by free-diving from dinghies or by hand collection along reefs at low tide.

Other management arrangements

  • Compulsory catch reporting arrangements are in place for the beche-de-mer fishery.
  • The commercial beche-de-mer fishery is a limited entry fishery - 18 commercial harvest fishery licences (CHFLs) are currently endorsed.
  • A total allowable commercial catch (TACC) of 361 tonnes landed weight exists for the entire fishery.
  • An individual annual quota is allocated to each licence.
  • The fishery imposes species-based catch limits
    • Due to their potential vulnerability to depletion, black teatfish (Holothuria whitmaei) has a quota of zero on all licences.
    • White teatfish catch is limited by condition of licence.
    • Collecting sandfish is prohibited in Hervey Bay.
    • Fisheries Queensland monitors other species in this fishery by performance measurement systems.
  • Limits exist on the number of boats (1 primary boat plus up to 4 tender boats) and divers (up to 10) operating under a licence at any one time.
  • The licence-holder or person in control of a boat identified in the licence must ensure vessel monitoring system (VMS) equipment is installed on the primary boat.
  • Effort restrictions are applied through rotational zones that limit access (number of days) to each reef or group of reefs. This is a voluntary initiative developed by licence-holders and implemented via an industry memorandum of understanding.

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