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Trawl fishery adapting to climate change

Trawl fishery adapting to climate change

Published: 22nd February 2012

Trawling vessel. Photo courtesy Commonwealth of Australia (GBRMPA)

Great Barrier Reef trawl operators, managers and industry representatives gathered in Townsville this month to discuss adapting to future climate change impacts.

The workshop was part of a joint project between the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA), Fisheries Queensland and the trawl industry to look at what climate variability and future changes might mean for the trawl fishery.

GBRMPA Director Climate Change Dr Paul Marshall said the future of the Great Barrier Reef and the future of the trawl industry were inextricably linked.

"The trawl industry has worked hard in recent years to modify practices and ensure that their fishing activity is ecologically sustainable in the Great Barrier Reef," he said.

"Fishers acknowledge their role as stewards of the outstanding natural asset that is the Great Barrier Reef.

"This is an opportunity to look ahead and plan for how future changes in climate may impact on prawns, bugs and scallops and consider ways to effectively manage those impacts to benefit both the industry and the Reef.

Workshops held earlier at Mooloolaba and Cairns had shown that the partnership approach to addressing future impacts on industry and the Great Barrier Reef is proving to be a winning formula.

QSIA representative Geoff Tilton said over the last ten years the industry adopted changed practices including turtle excluder and by-catch reduction devices that had enormous benefits for the Great Barrier Reef.

"The trawl industry is committed to working together with Reef managers to share knowledge and benefit from each other's experiences," he said.

He said operators can plan and consider ways to adapt to a changing climate to benefit the long term future of the industry."

The series of workshop being held along the east coast of Queensland is a joint program of the Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation and the Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence.