A DRAFT action plan to sustain local fisheries is out for public comment.

In a significant move forward to promote sustainable fishing practises across Douglas Shire, Council has joined forces with community leaders and industry figures to launch the community-managed sustainable fishing strategy.

The strategy, Action Plan: Towards a Community Managed Fishery, has been developed by Marine Biologist Phil Laycock, who has been a pivotal figure in the recent Fishing For the Future workshops and community events.

Mr Laycock urges the community to work together to embrace the goals outlined in the Action Plan.

“We are at a critical point for taking action, and we need to a collective effort to see real change,” he said.

“The Action plan provides a framework for the community to plan their fishing future on their terms.”

“It is supported by a significant community consultation process held to promote stewardship and best practice.”

The four goals outlined in the Action Plan are:

  • Goal 1: Recognise and strengthen community and cultural values linked to recreational fishing.
  • Goal 2: Strengthen and empower community and cultural stewardship of the fishery
  • Goal 3: Douglas Shire – A fishing destination
  • Goal 4: Fishery Development – an abundant and resilient fishery cared for by the community.

Following the adoption of the strategy, a working group will be created representing all fishing-related interests.  The working group will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the plan and its individual goals.

“We all have an important responsibility to protect and nurture our precious marine ecosystem and work together to support our collective vision for an abundant and resilient local fishery,” Laycock said.

“Everyone has a role to play, everyone can find something to change.”

Significant factors impacting the abundance and resilience of the local fishery and making them susceptible to intensive fishing practices include:

  • Short river systems and limited nursery environments, a feature of the region’s narrow coastal plain, which limits fish growth and carrying capacity for the region.
  • The very concentrated seasonal spawning aggregation of grey mackerel around Snapper Island (intensive fishing of spawning aggregations are recognised by fisheries managers as a sustainability red flag).

Development of the draft strategy is funded by a $15,000 grant received through the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to promote sustainable fishing practices.

The initiative is a project driven by the Douglas Local Marine Advisory Committee (LMAC) and Douglas Shire Council.

Douglas LMAC covers an area from the Bloomfield River in the north to Buchan Point in the south and includes the towns of Daintree Village, Mossman and Port Douglas together with Wangetti and Ellis beaches.

This document has been released for public comment with responses requested by Monday 27 September 2021.

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Read more about Fishing For The Future here