Tasmanian government must end overfishing and rebuild fish stocks

by Eloise Carr


The Australia Institute Tasmania is calling on the Tasmanian government to commit to end overfishing and rebuild fish stocks, after ignoring evidence of overfishing for decades.

It is among the think tank’s 10 recommendations (see below) to the Tasmanian Scalefish Fishery Rules Review that aims to aid species recovery and modernise management arrangements so the fishery is sustainable.

“The Tasmanian government cannot afford to wait until 2030. It should listen to Tasmanians who support an immediate ban and end the practice of recreational gillnetting now because it is detrimental to fish, threatened species like the Maugean skate, marine mammals and seabirds,” The Australia Institute Tasmania’s director, Eloise Carr said.

“Tasmania’s coastal waters are in trouble after decades of degradation and piecemeal changes are not enough.

“We are concerned about the long-term depletion of fish stocks and a modern legal and policy framework is needed to ensure new fishery management arrangements genuinely protect marine life,” siad Ms Carr.

The Australia Institute’s submission makes 10 recommendations:

1. For the Tasmanian government to establish an overarching legal and policy framework for the state’s marine estate.

2. The application of the precautionary principle to all fishery rule changes to support healthy and resilient ecosystems.

3. For fishery rule changes to be accompanied by a direction to recover overfished stocks and prevent future overfishing, as well as the introduction of a network of marine protected areas.

4. The appropriate recognition of Tasmanian Traditional Owners and ensuring they are involved in co-managing marine resources.

5. A commitment to close targeted fisheries when species are classified as depleted (when their estimated unfinished biomass reaches 20 per cent at least 10 per cent of the time).

6. Ensure that fishery rules adhere to a harvest strategy policy, including requirements that targeted fish stocks remain above 20 per cent of unfinished biomass at least 90 per cent of the time.

7. An immediate end to recreational gillnetting.

8. Implementing proposed changes to scalefish fishing rules including changes to species bag, possession and boat limits.

9. The immediate introduction of mandatory Vessel monitoring Systems for commercial vessels, as well as the registration and catch reporting for charter vessel operators and passengers.

10. The introduction of a recreational fishing licence for scalefish fishing in Tasmania, in line with Victorian, NSW and Western Australian requirements.