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Spanish mackerel and coral trout biological project

Stakeholders at Murray Island being shown how to record fish lengths for data collection.
QDAF Biologist Andrew Trappett displaying the otoliths removed from a Spanish mackerel frame at Erub Island.

Government agencies working with community for sustainable finfish managment

The Torres Strait Regional Authority’s (TSRA) Fisheries Programme travelled to Erub and Mer Islands  on 17 & 18 of  February 2021 to join staff from Fisheries Queensland working on the Coral Trout and Spanish Mackerel Biological Sampling project.

The project is jointly funded by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Fisheries Queensland and TSRA to collect information about length, sex and age of Torres Strait Spanish mackerel and coral trout. The information is used to help communities, managers and scientists obtain a more accurate assessment of these regional stocks. This leads to healthier sustainable management of finfish in the Torres Strait.  It also informs fisheries management decisions that lead to annual Recommended Biological Catch rates.

“The project team established, and has maintained, relationships with commercial traditional fishers, staff at Darnley Deep Seafood (seafood processing and trade) and key stakeholders from Erub, Ugar, Masig and Mer to ensure fishers and community members have an opportunity to participate. The team is also building linkages with TSRA’s Wapil fisheries traineeship program and non-traditional fishers so they can contribute to sampling and data collection” advised Malcolm Pearce, Fisheries Queensland Manager of Fishery Monitoring.

The Chairperson of the TSRA, Mr Napau Pedro Stephen AM said “This is an excellent example of communities, organisations and individual operators working together to achieve long-term sustainability outcomes for Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal peoples”. The TSRA will continue to facilitate access to communities the ‘Ailan way’ to help agencies deliver these important initiatives.

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