Skip links and keyboard navigation

    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Economic Development
    The Honourable Bill Byrne

    Changes to turtle excluder devices good for exports and turtles

    Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Economic Development
    The Honourable Bill Byrne

    Friday, February 17, 2017

    Changes to turtle excluder devices good for exports and turtles

    The Palaszczuk Government is introducing changes to provide greater protection to turtles from accidental harm.

    Improvements to the design of turtle excluder devices in the Queensland East Coast Trawl Fishery will ensure the industry meets the highest international standards and can continue to export prawns to the United States.

    Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Bill Byrne said commercial fishers will be required to make a minor change to existing turtle excluder devices from 1 March 2017.

    “Under new legislation, the flap overlap on TEDs must be a maximum of 38 centimetres when stretched transversely at the flap’s point of attachment,” the Minister said.

    “Recent trials in the U.S. found TEDs with an overlap greater than 38 centimetres were not as effective in allowing the escape of sea turtles.”

    Turtle excluder devices which allow larger animals to escape trawl fishing nets are compulsory in Queensland’s east coast trawl fishery.

    The Minister said the important modification to Queensland trawl nets would give greater protection to endangered and protected sea turtles and allow Queensland’s prawn trawl fishery to maintain U.S. export certification which it has held since 2010.

    “While the U.S. is currently a small market for Queensland prawn exports, certification gives commercial fishers a valuable market opportunity to sell their product,” he said.

    “Independent certification also recognises that the fishery operates with a Turtle Excluder Device Program which is regarded as world’s best practice.”

    No new material is required and the change can be made by simply cutting or moving the existing flaps.

    Minister Byrne said a grace period will apply to give commercial fishers time to modify their existing turtle excluder devices during routine maintenance.

    The Minister has also announced changes to the Shark Control Program at Bucasia Beach, near Mackay – an important habitat for nesting flatback turtles – bringing the total number of drumlines to 12.

    “Shark control nets will be permanently removed from the Great Barrier Marine Park at Bucasia Beach and replaced with an additional six drumlines,” the Minister said.

    “A reduction in the number of nets at Mackay will reduce the incidence of non-target species at risk of being caught including turtles, rays, dolphins, crocodiles and sawfish.

    “The two shark nets in place at Harbour Beach in Mackay will remain as they are not in the marine park.”

    Minister Byrne said six additional drumlines will be located at South Lamberts Beach which has become Mackay’s most popular beach for swimmers and board riders.

    For more information about the changes to TEDs legislation, commercial fishers should call 13 25 23.

    For more information on fishing rules and regulations in Queensland, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au.

    Follow Fisheries Queensland on Facebook and Twitter (@FisheriesQld).

     

    Media: 0448 994 172