Valerie Horton

EXCLUSIVE: Minister to reveal raft of fishing restrictions

SWEEPING reforms for commercial and recreational fishing will be revealed in Maryborough today.

The Chronicle can exclusively reveal the proposed reforms include individual quotas on species of fish and crabs, possession limits on certain species of marine life and splitting the state's trawl fishery into five regions.

It comes after the State Government released the Sustainable Fisheries Strategy two years ago, which prompted input from all fishing sectors across the state.

Directions outlined in the paper are expected to be implemented by September.

As part of the proposal, the trawl fishery will be split into five regions with new fishing nights and caps to be set.

Individual quotas on mud crabs, blue swimmer crabs, barramundi, king threadfin, grey mackerel, school mackerel and whiting will also be put in place.

That will also include boat limits for black marketing certain species, including mud crabs, barramundi, black jewfish, coral trout and spanish mackerel.

The policy also outlines the banning of lightweight crab pots and proposes a possession limit of 20 for all species "which don't have a recreational in-possession limit".

Fisheries Minister Mark Furner, who will be unveiling the plan in the Fraser Coast today, said the reforms were the next step to create a "world-class fisheries management system".

"The overwhelming message from stakeholders to a number of reviews since 2014 is that fisheries management must change. Doing nothing is not an option when the current system is not working," Mr Furner said.

"There are few catch limits, poor fisheries compliance, high conflict between stakeholders and concerns about bycatch and protected species interactions.

"All stakeholders have provided feedback on the reforms needed to our major fisheries and this includes independent advice from the Sustainable Fisheries Expert Panel."

Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders said feedback from fishers and other stakeholders had played a vital role in the direction of the reforms.

"We all want our children and grandchildren to be able to enjoy a sustainable fishery, either for recreation or as an industry," Mr Saunders said.

"There will be another opportunity for people to have their say when proposed regulatory amendments are released for feedback in April."