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Torres Strait fishing partnership reels in state prize

Winners: Left to right – TSRA Fisheries Portfolio Member and Member for Ngurapai (Horn Island) and Muralag (Prince of Wales Island) Yen Loban with Quinten Hirakawa and Keith Brightman from TSRA Fisheries team.

A capacity-building fisheries workshop between Traditional Owners, the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) and Fishwell Consulting on Thursday Island has won the People Development Award at the Queensland Seafood Industry Awards 2022.

TSRA Chairperson Napau Pedro Stephen AM said the award aligned with TSRA’s dedicated Fisheries Programme, which aims to support a sustainable fishing industry owned and operated by Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal peoples.

“More than 20 local people from various communities and fishing interests – including tropical rock lobster, beche-de-mer, reef line and prawn fishing – attended the workshop on Thursday Island to further develop skills and networks in sustainable fisheries management,” Mr Stephen said.

“I am proud of this award, which recognises the value of creating partnerships between Traditional Owners, scientists and the commercial fishing sector to build capacity, professionalism and best practice in our fishing industry.

“Climate change impacts including rising sea levels means a focus on local training, skills and support to future-proof our fishing industry is more important than ever,” he said.

TSRA Fisheries Portfolio Member and Member for Ngurapai (Horn Island) and Muralag (Prince of Wales Island) Yen Loban said workshop participants were already using the training to successfully advocate for changes to fisheries management and commercial fin fish resources around top western communities.

“Fishing is in our blood, it’s our culture, livelihood and a major source of employment and income for the Torres Strait,” Mr Loban said.

“Investing time and effort to build skills, capacity and awareness of new opportunities and technology will help support a sustainable and effective local seafood industry into the future,” he said.

The workshop (17-19 May 2021), facilitated by fishing industry expert and Fishwell Consulting Director Dr Ian Knuckey, included sessions on logbook data collection, fishery independent surveys, fish population dynamics, stock assessments, harvest strategies and principles of fisheries management. There were also sessions on fisheries legislation in the Torres Strait, committee roles and responsibilities, and effective representation and advocacy.

Dr Knuckey said the workshop used real-life examples to equip participants with skills and knowledge to influence and advocate for the region’s aspirations.

“Everyone shared a desire to learn, collaborate and work together to ensure current and future generations can enjoy the economic benefits of sustainable fishing of Torres Strait seafood resources,” Dr Knuckey said.

The Queensland Seafood Industry Awards showcase the Queensland seafood industry by recognising and celebrating the positive contributions of individuals, partnerships, businesses and organisations towards a sustainable and profitable Australian seafood industry.

The People Development Award acknowledges demonstrated excellence in developing and undertaking a people development activity that has contributed substantially towards a higher performing workforce for the seafood industry.

The Awards were held on 18 March 2022 in Brisbane. State Award winners will go on to the National Seafood Awards later in 2022.

For more information about TSRA visit

For more information about the Queensland Seafood Industry Awards visit

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