The Queensland government has published a document on behalf of Fisheries Queensland relating to the over fishing of Queensland snapper stocks. The below paragraphs have been copied from the Fisheries Web site to inform anglers on what, where and why the snapper fishery is under threat and what you can do to help.
“Queensland’s snapper stock is considered overfished. As such, we need to make changes to fishing rules and practices to rebuild the snapper stock to a sustainable level. Later this year, Fisheries Queensland will release a consultation document seeking feedback on potential changes to the Rocky Reef Fin Fish Fishery (particularly snapper). Your feedback will help create a sustainable fishery for the future.”
# Why the fishery is undergoing a review:
“In 2006, Fisheries Queensland undertook the first quantitative assessment of Queensland’s snapper stock. This assessment indicated that the stock was likely overfished and identified that further data, such as annual data on the size and age of recreationally and commercially caught snapper, was needed to confirm the stock status.In late 2008, a second scientifically rigorous stock assessment was completed, which also showed that the snapper stock is overfished. This stock assessment was independently reviewed, and the outcomes of the stock assessment are supported by the reviewer.The results of these assessments indicate that the snapper stock is less than 35% of its unfished levels. It is internationally recognised that fish stocks at 40% (or less) of their ‘unfished levels’ are classed as ‘overfished’. This means snapper in Queensland is being harvested at unsustainable levels.We expect Queensland’s snapper stock will continue to decline if no action is taken to reduce current levels of fishing effort. It is unlikely that snapper will be fished to the point where the stock collapses, but significant ecological, economic and social impacts are likely if overfishing continues.”
# Precautions that the Queensland government has taken over the years to protect the snapper fishery:
“Concerns for the sustainability of snapper have been expressed by stakeholders, managers and scientists during the past 30 years. Over the years, the government has implemented a range of measures to try to protect the snapper stock.These include introducing and maintaining a minimum legal size—a size limit of 11 inches can be traced back as far as 1957, limiting licensing of commercial fishing boats (1984), restricting recreational fishers from selling their surplus fish (1990), increasing the minimum legal size limit of snapper from 25 cm to 30 cm and introducing a bag limit of 30 (1993), increasing the minimum legal size limit for snapper from 30 cm to 35 cm and decreasing the bag limit from 30 to 5 fish per person (2003).Despite these management measures, fishing pressure has continued to increase.
# The Sunshine Coast fishery is definitely under increasing pressure:
“Over the past 10 years fishers targeting snapper have put more effort into the Sunshine Coast and Fraser Coast areas in attempts to maintain good catches. Overall the length and age of the snapper caught indicates that the fishing mortality is too high.”
If you would like to find out more about the declining snapper fishery or provide QLD Fisheries with some feedback on the matter at hand, jump on the web at www.twitter.com/fisheriesQLD or www.deedi.qld.gov.au (and click the fisheries link) or call fisheries on 132523.