Commercial fishermen have welcomed an agreement between Australia and Indonesia to take part in joint navy patrols to stop illegal fishing in Australia’s northern waters.
State and territory fisheries ministers have also committed to eight new measures to deter illegal fishermen, including a review of penalties and more research.
Neil Green from the Queensland Seafood Industry Association says any moves to stamp out the practice are positive.
“We’re getting to the stage with a desperate situation and illegal poaching by these fishermen is very much affecting our pocket and our resource out there,” he said.
“So anything that can possibly assist I would certainly welcome.”
Mr Green says he is disappointed Federal Fisheries Minister Eric Abetz has said the industry is not invited to next year’s Asian Pacific regional forum to discuss the issue.
“I certainly would like to think that industry would be part of these sorts of meetings,” he said.
“I’m probably a bit disappointed that we haven’t been more involved, being the eyes and ears out there on the water.”
Queensland’s Primary Industries Minister Tim Mulherin says an economic study will be conducted into the impact of illegal fishing.
“We put in a management regime that’s there to ensure that we have a sustainable fishery,” he said.
“But if we have illegal fishers operating in our waters, it’s very difficult for us to manage the fisheries.”
Mr Mulherin says a whole-of-government approach is necessary to stop illegal fishing.
“Not only is it a threat to our ability to manage the fisheries, it’s also a threat to biosecurity,” he said.
“Biosecurity could have a devastating impact on our fisheries so it makes a lot of sense for all levels of government to cooperate.”