Local snapper prices in Queensland could be higher as the state’s commercial fishing operators are forced to reduce their annual catch by 40 percent. The Queensland Seafood Industry Association last night backed a state government push to replenish snapper stocks, but warned local supply and prices would be impacted.
Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin has released a blueprint containing four options to reduce the total take of snapper along the state’s east coast to 400 tonnes a year. The main aim of this plan is to slash the annual take by the recreational fishing sector from an estimated 415 tonnes to 260 tonnes, backed up by seasonal snapper catch bans and logbook requirements.
In the name of environmental protection there is a yearly cut from 40 tonnes to 32 tonnes.
The commercial sector catches about 190 tonnes of snapper off the state’s east coast each year, but this would be reduced by about 40 per cent to 108 tonnes under most of the proposed options. QSIA president Michael Gardner said the cut in the commercial snapper take was a “very significant reduction in what’s available for the public”.
The Rocky Reef Fin Fish Fishery regulatory impact statement acknowledged moves to limit the commercial catch were “likely to impose a community cost by reducing supply of locally caught snapper”. However, the document spruiked social, economic and ecological benefits from boosting the snapper stock. These two options include an annual six-week closure to the recreational take of snapper, pearl perch and teraglin.