REFORMS to modernise Queensland’s fisheries laws, including stronger compliance powers and penalties for serious offences such as seafood black marketing, have been proposed by the State Government.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development Mark Furner recently released a discussion paper on amendments to the Fisheries Act 1994 for public feedback. “The government is committed to protecting Queensland’s valuable fisheries resources and delivering a world-class management system through the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy,” Minister Furner said. “An integral part of reform is to update fisheries laws and legislation to meet community expectations for recreational and commercial fishing laws that are contemporary, practical and simple to understand.”
Minister Furner said the proposed changes aim to:
- Modernise the objective of the Fisheries Act and recognise the interests of key stakeholder groups.
- Clarify the roles of the minister responsible for fisheries and the chief executive in managing Queensland’s fisheries; and to allow for more responsive decision-making through the use of harvest strategies.
- Strengthen the enforcement powers of fisheries inspectors and penalties to address serious offences such as black marketing.
- Reduce complexity and remove redundant provisions.
Stronger enforcement powers and penalties are being proposed, which are aimed squarely at fishers operating illegally by selling seafood on the black market.
“This black-market practice undermines the viability of commercial fishing, the competitiveness of legitimate seafood processors and buyers, and ultimately affects Queensland’s reputation as a producer of high-quality seafood,” Mr Furner said. “The community has been calling for change in this area of fisheries legislation for many years and the proposed changes will bring Queensland in line with other Australian fisheries management agencies. We have invested more than $20 million in additional funding for fisheries reform, including an extra 20 compliance officers across the state. By strengthening compliance powers, our hard-working fisheries officers will be better able to do the job of protecting Queensland’s valuable fisheries resources.”
The discussion paper is open for public feedback until 5pm on May 20, 2018 and can be viewed online at daf.qld.gov.au/sustainablefisheriesstrategy
Fisheries Queensland representatives will also visit regional centres in April and May to take feedback on the proposed changes from stakeholders.
For more information, visit daf.qld.gov.au or phone 13 25 23.