The Palaszczuk Government will move to prohibit the use of spikes on trawl sleds to reduce the risks of overfishing and damage to the marine environment.
Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Leanne Donaldson said concerns had been raised by many commercial trawl fishers as well as conservation groups about the use of spikes on trawl sleds primarily in the Eastern King Prawn Fishery.
“Late last year, when officers from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries became aware of their use, they asked commercial operators to remove the spikes,” Minister Donaldson said.
“While there was agreement at that time, a number of operators are known to have installed the devices recently. Therefore we intend to regulate to prevent their use.”
Minister Donaldson said trawl sled designs have remained largely unchanged for decades.
“It’s only in recent months that fisheries officers have seen spikes used on the base of the trawl sleds,” the Minister said.
“It is believed up to 12 commercial fishing vessels are using spikes with the potential to adversely impact on Queensland’s marine environment and the sustainability of the prawn fishery over the longer term.
“I would like regulations in place by 1 August for the sustainability of our prawn stocks and to mitigate a potential risk to the environment,” the Minister said.
Once the regulations are in place commercial fishers caught using the spikes will receive a Fisheries Infringement Notice and a fine of $1,178 per offence.
For more information about the Eastern King Prawn Fishery visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au.
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