Queensland trawling practices modified to reduce bycatch
TRAWLING practices are being modified in Queensland to reduce accidental catch of non-target species.
Fisheries Queensland, Fisheries Management Officer, Darren Roy outlined the changes to bycatch reduction devices that will come into effect from 1 March 2015.
"As part of the changes, certain types of bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) that were not as effective as other designs will no longer be allowed," Mr Roy said.
"The 'half-round square mesh codend', 'popeye fish excluder' and 'radial escape section' BRDs can no longer be used, reducing the number of BRD options from eight to five.
"Modifications have been made to the remaining five BRD options to improve their performance resulting in more durable devices and improved bycatch reductions.
"Depending on where you fish, there are approved BRD types when fishing with prawn nets in certain areas, however when using scallop nets, only a scallop square mesh codend can be used.
"For turtle excluder devices, scallop mesh up to 90
mm may be used for flaps in scallop nets only and accelerator funnels may now be used with all turtle excluder devices.
"This will help to improve the performance of turtle excluder devices and reduce maintenance costs for fishers."
Mr Roy said another change commencing in March allows trawl net inspections to occur while boats are in port or at anchor rather than whilst trawling.
"Previously, fisheries officers undertook inspections at sea at night with trawl fishers having to raise their nets," he said.
"This was very disruptive to their fishing operation so future inspections will be much more effective, less dangerous and less of an imposition on fishers."
The changes ensure commercial fishers continue to meet conditions set by the Commonwealth Government and ensure the fisheries continue to receive export approvals.
For more information on changes to bycatch reduction devices and turtle excluder devices, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.
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