Best practice net fishing

The East coast inshore protected species management strategy (PSMS) 2021–2026 has been developed to ensure east coast inshore fishery (ECIF) is a low risk to bycatch and protected species.

Phase 1 of the strategy aims to work with industry to develop a best management practice (BMP) with a plan to continue improving reporting, fishing practices and mitigation strategies.

Under the PSMS, development and roll out of a BMP program for holders of a primary commercial fisher licence operating in the ECIF is proposed. Longer term, development of regional accredited BMP programs (as required) is intended, and would be mandatory for:

  • new entrants to the ECIF
  • fishers who have triggered an individual fisher limit
  • all fishers in a management area that reaches a trigger.

Benefits of best practice net fishing

The key benefits of a best practice process are:

  • minimising impacts on protected species
  • reducing bycatch
  • increasing economic efficiency
  • meeting community expectations
  • maintaining locally caught produce for markets.

Current net fishing practices

Net fishers have developed practices and methods to fish in their local area in an environmentally friendly, economically beneficial and socially conscious way. This has led to good relationships between net fishers and their local community.

However, non-local fishers don't always follow these voluntary practices. While such operations are legal, they can inadvertently harm local marine life.

To address this issue, some commercial fishers have developed codes of conduct for their region. However, these codes have had limited success, as they are not enforceable and not all fishers abide by them.

The Queensland Government is therefore working with the commercial fishing industry to develop an industry code of practice and BMP program that is enforceable, in line with the PSMS.