Questions raised over slimy Spanish mackerel data
28 June 2023
The decision made by Queensland Fisheries to drastically reduce Spanish mackerel quotas across Eastern Queensland, will come into effect on Saturday, 1 July 2023, during a time when all fishermen are reporting high volumes of the species across Queensland waters.
The Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA) recently commissioned an independent report into how the analysis and modelling of the current Spanish mackerel figures was derived to justify the State Government’s decision.
QSIA CEO, David Bobbermen, said he had written to Fisheries Minister Mark Furner asking for the new East Coast Spanish Mackerel Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) Declaration to be withdrawn, as the information upon which it is based has been questioned by independent reviewers.
“QSIA commissioned an independent analysis of the facts and figures behind Fisheries Queensland’s 2021 East Coast Spanish Mackerel Stock Assessment and the draft report had just been received,” Mr Bobbermen said.
“The cuts should not go ahead until the Queensland Government has called in experts to completely review the work that the fisheries department, Fisheries Queensland, has carried out to come up with their catch cuts decision for the 2023-24 financial year.
“Fisheries Queensland is cutting the total allowable catch for professional fishers on the East Coast from 578 tonnes this year to just 165 tonnes in the 2023-24 financial year.
“And now an independent analysis of the Fisheries Queensland figures has concluded the figures should be thoroughly re-examined.
“On the basis of what has been found, Fisheries Queensland is prepared to cause serious financial hardship to fishing families throughout the East Coast.
“That’s not how our fisheries resources should be managed or primary producer livelihoods should be manipulated.”
Hinchinbrook MP and KAP Deputy Leader, Nick Dametto has echoed the calls made by QSIA to pause the reduction of the total allowable catch until such time as the independent report can be digested and the figures comprehensibly reviewed.
“Unless the Government has some hidden agenda, there is no reason why they can’t put a pause on powering ahead with these industry destroying reductions to quota while the Department is reviewing this latest report that could change everything.
“The full and final version of the report is yet to be made available but early indications are that Fisheries Queensland should never have relied upon the figures to make such a far-reaching and detrimental decision.
“If it turns out the independent report supports Fisheries Queensland’s position then we would have no other option but to accept it. But I bet my fishing pole that the Government has diddled the books to align with their objective to slowly but surely kill off mackerel fishing along the East Coast.
“Current figures indicate that Australian is a net importer of seafood with over 70% of all seafood coming in from overseas. I am pretty sure this Government is hell-bent on seeing that rise to 100% for wild, locally caught product.
“I have written to Minister Furner urgently seeking that he pauses the reduction in the Spanish mackerel allowable catch until such time as the calculations and working out by Fisheries Queensland is thoroughly reviewed.
“If this goes ahead you can expect less fish and more crumbs on your burger or prices soaring to double next time you order a piece of Spanish mackerel at your local fish and chip shop.”