Government controls and legislation for net fisheries
As a commercial net fisher you need to be aware of the relevant legislation and regulations. Management arrangements for Queensland's commercial net fisheries are found in the Fisheries Regulation 2008 and include:
- area closures
- closures during spawning season
- dugong protection areas, which are closed to net fishing or restrict the type of netting that may be used
- restrictions on the number, length, drop and mesh size of nets
- restrictions on the minimum legal size of fish and in some cases total allowable catches (TACs)
- 'attendance' requirements (by law, net fishers are required to be 'in attendance' at the net while fishing so as to minimise harm to species of conservation concern, such as crocodiles, dugongs and turtles).
The details of the regulations are different for the different species and fisheries:
- Harvest of barramundi is not permitted
- in the Gulf of Carpentaria between midday 7 October and midday 1 February
- on the east coast between on the east coast from midday 1 November to midday 1 February.
- A number of species, including spotted mackerel, must not be targeted by commercial net fishers.
Monitoring and reporting
Commercial fishers have a legal obligation to report information about their fishing activities in a compulsory daily logbook. All net fishers must contribute data about their day's catch, the location fished, the gear used and any interactions with species of conservation interest. Fisheries Queensland uses this data to assess and monitor the status of individual species and fisheries in Queensland.
Boats operating in certain fisheries or areas are also obliged to have on board a vessel monitoring system (VMS), which tracks the position of their boat, to monitor compliance with closures and other restrictions.