Fishing for future hopes in Noosa
FURTHER investigation into the removal of beam trawling in the Noosa River and lakes and the extension of weekend mullet fishing closures to the North Shore are part of proposals to be put to the State Government.
Noosa Council has unanimously endorsed the Noosa Fishing Futures expert options paper it commissioned, which also advocates a reduction of 1.5km nets currently allowed in the river and lakes.
These are the longest nets permitted in any state fishery, but the paper also wants authorities to explore the declaration of net-free zones in the river and lakes and the development of mullet beach fishing code of practice.
The paper, which recommends further consultation with impact stakeholders, will be submitted to the state's proposed fishing amendments process and help inform the new Noosa River Plan.
Councillor Frank Pardon said he was very excited to see this response put together as a way forward for sustainable fishing in Noosa.
"I've been on about a 20-year journey here in Noosa to have a look at sustainable fishing,” Cr Pardon said.
"State governments being where they are in Brisbane are not aware of a lot of issues that this council is aware of. In this day and age to have nets 1500m long, and it's only this system where it's allowed to have nets of this length, it's quite a shock.”
The councillor said "we were never against commercial fishing”, but "the amateur fishermen were entitled to catch fish”.
"I've said pro fishers over the years, when you can't catch a fish in your nets, no one will catch a fish. So you won't do any good nor anyone else,” Cr Pardon said.
"When you get a licence to fish that doesn't mean you've got a licence forever and to take everything.
"Nobody owns this resource, people think they do but they don't, so they're shared amongst everybody.”
He said in the big picture he hoped the state will listen.
"It's the beginning of the journey here that we're on.”
Mayor Tony Wellington said this report also offered an opportunity to inform the ongoing river management.
"We'll be going back out for public consultation on that new Noosa River Plan with the plan having been informed with the work that the consultants have done for us,” Cr Wellington said.
He said the fishing futures paper has been peer reviewed by "no less than four scientists” and was the result of a robust process into this "difficult and delicate matter”.
The council said a recent report which found an 80-90 per cent decline in benthic invertebrates in the river, "raised alarm bells” and was a sign the system was under significant pressure.