Spanish mackerel quotas remain but for how long: Dametto

1st July 2022

Trevor Kyle, Bob Katter MP, Nick Dametto MP, Shane Knuth MP and Lisa Putzka at press conference in April 2022.

Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader and Hinchinbrook MP, Nick Dametto said Spanish mackerel commercial fishers were breathing an initial sigh of relief following the latest communication received by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), however uncertainty about the future of the industry remains.

Licence holders have received an update from DAF stating the Spanish mackerel quota season has been initialised to commence 1 July 2022. And there has been no change to the Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) for the upcoming season.

The Hinchinbrook MP said he was glad licence holders had received confirmation that the TACC wouldn’t change for this season, however the latest communication from DAF still leaves commercial fisher’s futures flapping in the breeze.

“Today’s announcement has come as quite a surprise to some, if the biomass was really as bad as the Department has been carrying on about, you would have thought they would have drastically reduced the TACC for commercial fishers and the recreational take, but this isn’t the case,” Mr Dametto said.

“It’s extremely disappointing the Department didn’t make the announcement sooner as there are commercial fishers who have sold their quotas thanks to DAF’s vagueness.”

DAF’s latest communication also stated the next round of public consultation is proposed to commence shortly and will seek feedback on potential changes to fishery management arrangements.

“This season, DAF needs to be working extremely closely with commercial and recreational fishers to obtain more precise data. They need to be working hand in glove with fishers, not working from a spreadsheet in their Brisbane offices,” Mr Dametto said.

“It will be interesting to see if DAF utilises this upcoming season to collect data more accurately and consult will all industry stakeholders, not just selected fishers”.

Spokesman for affected commercial fishers, Trevor Kyle stated the industry welcomed the announcement, however DAF’s latest communication created a fear of uncertainty.

“The Department can declare an emergency at any time which leaves it open for impromptu closure of the industry potentially during September, October and November,” Mr Kyle said.

“The result is good, but we are still in limbo and the latest communication still creates uncertainty about the future.

“We want to know the methodology of how they will collect data for monitoring purposes and what information they will rely on to determine the future of the industry.”

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Nick Dametto MP