Call for exclusion zone
KIM Martin believes fishing trawlers are doing as much damage to the environment as a Dingo couple who were recently fined $112,000 for illegally clearing more than 320 hectares of land.
The recreational fishing advocate has called for a three-kilometre exclusion zone for trawlers working on the east coast of Australia, saying trawlers fishing too close to shore were doing irreversible damage to marine life.
“Trawlers would clear hundreds of hectares everyday and get away scot-free,” Mr Martin said yesterday.
“Inshore waters is where nursery centres, fish spawn and juvenile fish live the first parts of their life.
“A lot of the developed world has recognised this and has banned inshore trawling.”
He said the five kilometres of dead fish that Yeppoon woman Sunny Stevenson discovered at Farnborough beach two weekends ago was just the tip of the iceberg.
“That happens daily, it’s just when it washes up on the beach it becomes visible and people see it,” Mr Martin said.
He said he wasn’t against trawling but said certain areas needed to be out of bounds.
“There are areas where there’s minimal damage and areas where there’s massive damage,” Mr Martin said. “We just have to get the message through that there are some areas where trawlers are just totally inappropriate. I think we can get ample catch and not do the damage that we’re doing at the moment.”
Brigid Kerrigan, general manager, Harvest Management, Fisheries Queensland said Queensland’s east coast trawl fishery had been recognised by the US as meeting international standards.
“In an effort to reduce bycatch, it is mandatory for all otter trawl vessels to use a turtle excluder device (TED) and a bycatch reduction device (BRD) in each trawl net,” Ms Kerrigan said.
“The combined use of a TED and BRD has been shown to reduce the amount of bycatch caught in trawl nets by up to 77%.”
She said the Queensland Government had funded trawl operators to adopt new technologies that met international standards and world’s best practice.
“Trawl operators generally take a stewardship approach to managing incidental catch and work collaboratively with government to refine and improve their practices,” Ms Kerrigan said.