Set equal minimum legal size limits for commercial and recreational fishing while avoiding increased incidental mortality caused by fishing
Management inequities enable commercial fishers to profit from catching and selling fish that recreational fishers must return to the sea. That’s because they have a smaller minimum size limit. Examples where this is occurring is with snapper, crayfish, scallops, gurnard and kingfish.
It’s just not fair to allow commercial fishers to profit from catching and selling smaller sized fish that recreational fishers must return to the sea, dead or alive. Let’s ensure equality, commonsense and fairness. Let’s set minimum size limits for sustainability reasons rather than to give priority to commercial fishers.
What this means for you
Our fish are being caught and sold in overseas supermarkets before you are even allowed to take them home to feed your family.
Size limits on fish need to be set for biological reasons to ensure sustainability. It is totally unreasonable that different size limits are used to give priority to commercial fishers over non-commercial fishers.
Over time, the effects of fishing with different size limits and depleted stock sizes sees an unfair reallocation of fish from recreational to commercial interests.
The reality is that the commercial catch of small fish is keeping the stock size small and is denying recreational catch opportunities.
End the blatant commercial priority when it comes to size limits.
As a start, the recreational minimum size limits ought to apply to commercial catch along with standards, so that only fishing methods that are capable of improved selectivity are deployed inshore.
Most bulk harvesting commercial fishing methods are not selective when it comes to letting small fish go and only keeping the larger fish. The incidental mortality associated with trawling and Danish seining is of increasing concern to the public.
Standards need to be developed so that everyone knows what is an acceptable level of undersized catch.
These standards are essential because they will drive the need for innovation and change, both of which have been missing in the last 30 years of the Quota Management System.
Recreational fishers also need to improve fishing methods and fish handling practices to increase the size of fish caught and reduce release mortality.
Protecting young fish will have long-term benefits for the fishery.
Protecting small fish is a priority.
If some fishing methods are not selective enough to avoid catching and killing large amounts of small fish, they need to be banned. Area restrictions or method controls may be required.