Good news from the State Govt Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

You will recall we had officers from this Department as Guest Speakers at our Daytime Meeting in 2018 held at the Bribie Seaside Museum.
They gave us an account of the long and difficult road it has been for them to meticulously and doggedly pursue this issue so that they could justify the changes in legislation necessary to protect these species from illegal over harvesting, that has put the health of the populations on the brink of collapse.
After a number of years of pursuing this issue, prosecuting those who abused the limits of what were allowable takes and the illegal trade, the Fisheries Dept has been able to get this legislation enacted.
BIEPA congratulates these wonderful officers.

The Queensland Government has introduced urgent management changes to protect gastropods and bivalve molluscs in Moreton Bay.

Fishing pressure directed at gastropods and bivalve molluscs in Moreton Bay has increased significantly in recent years resulting in concern about sustainability of key species (mud ark, mud whelks and cockles).

Public consultation on urgent management changes was undertaken in late 2018 given the vulnerability of key species to over-harvesting and limited compliance with current possession limits.

Changes have recently been made to the Fisheries Regulation 2008 to protect these species in Moreton Bay. The following new rules are now in place:

  • the take of gastropods and bivalve mollusc, excluding pipis, is prohibited in Moreton Bay;
  • shell collecting (i.e. empty shells, no live organisms) is still permitted.

If you require more information contact the Department’s Call Centre on 13 25 23 or visit fisheries.qld.gov.au.

Fisheries Managers

Management and Reform | Fisheries Queensland

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

www.daf.qld.gov.au
Level 5, Mineral House, 41 George Street, Brisbane QLD 4000

Attached is a copy of the letter to recreational stakeholder groups and a flyer outlining the new management changes…

Management changes Moreton Bay molluscs – letter to stakeholders

Moreton Bay mollusc closure flyer

Consultation on proposed changes to the management of gastropod and bivalve molluscs in Moreton Bay

BIEPA considers this an important enough issue to send you the Survey sent by the Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF).

You will recall our October daytime meeting held at the Seaside Museum, where our Guest Speaker from DAF talked about the over-harvesting of gastropod and bivalve molluscs in Moreton Bay, some of it to supply restaurants illegally.  DAF has been investigating and gathering evidence over a number of years to ensure the over-harvesting can be addressed.  Many are asking for a total ban on harvesting these species to allow their numbers to return to normal and improve the health of the Moreton Bay Marine Park ecosystems.

The Survey can be found at this link:   https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/business-priorities/fisheries/consultations-and-legislation/reviews-surveys-and-consultations.

Follow the prompts to take part.

 

Background

Consultation on proposed changes to the management of gastropod and bivalve molluscs in Moreton Bay.

Fishing pressure directed at gastropods and bivalve molluscs in Moreton Bay has increased significantly in recent years resulting in concern about the sustainability of key species (mud ark and mud whelks). A key issue is limited compliance with current in-possession limits (50 per person) with large organised groups of people targeting these species excessively.

Gastropods and bivalve mollusc species are highly susceptible to localised depletion because of their sedentary nature and the ease of access to fishing grounds adjacent to urban centres.

Fisheries Queensland anticipates that fishing pressure and demand for these fisheries resources will continue and management action is required to protect intertidal shellfish populations and support rebuilding of populations to sustainable levels.

Initial consultation with some local stakeholders, the Moreton Bay Working Group and the Sustainable Fisheries Expert Panel has been undertaken.  Communiques are available online athttps://www.daf.qld.gov.au/business-priorities/fisheries/sustainable-fisheries-strategy.  Fisheries Queensland is now seeking additional feedback through public consultation on the following management changes to the Fisheries Regulation 2008:

  • Prohibit the take of gastropods and bivalve mollusc, excluding pipis, in Moreton Bay;
  • Clarify the definition of mollusc to assist compliance activities:
  1.     Gastropod means any invertebrate species belonging to taxonomic Class Gastropoda
  2.     Bivalve Mollusc means any invertebrate species belonging to taxonomic Class Bivalvia

        iii.    Pipi means any invertebrate species belonging to taxonomic Family Donacidae.

  • Clarify that shell collecting (i.e. empty shells, no live organisms) is not a regulated activity.

It is proposed that the closure will apply to the waters of Moreton Bay following  the boundary coordinates of the northern, eastern and southern boundaries of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and all tidal waters of rivers flowing into this region and encompass the existing foreshore closures at Wynnum, Nudgee Beach, Bramble Bay and Deception Bay.

The closure would not apply to pipis or worms, and would only apply to bivalve molluscs and gastropods such as mud welks, cockles and mud arks.

There will be no changes to the harvesting of gastropods and bivalve mollusc outside the Moreton Bay area (i.e. outside Moreton Bay a person is allowed to be in possession of 50).

An online survey is regarding the proposed management action is available at https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/business-priorities/fisheries/consultations-and-legislation/reviews-surveys-and-consultations and will be open for comment until 6 January 2019.

If you have any questions please contact John Kung, Senior Fisheries Manager, on 3087 8027 or by email at John.Kung@daf.qld.gov.au.

Claire Andersen
Executive Director (Fisheries and Forestry)
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries