The traditional methods of fishing or equipment used in Qld AREN'T the issue and haven't been since 2008.

Like everybody else, TOs can use recreational fishing apparatus. Absolutely no reason why they shouldn't.

They can (and do) use tinnies with o/board motors and all the recreational fishing gear. Nothing wrong with that either.

And also (like everybody else), they can get a permit to undertake netting operations for specific approved activities (traditional or custom related special events).

Its a bit more than that actually because every TO in Qld can now possess a 70m gill net. No limit on the number each can possess. Nobody else in Qld can do that without a commercial fishing licence.

The TOs net fishing permit system is being abused by many who AREN'T traditional land owners. THAT's the problem.

Failure of Qld Fisheries to ensure compliance with the permit system means that the "bad guys" have moved in under cover of the unregulated TO permit system and are now threatening fish stocks (threadfin salmon and barramundi) in a big way.

Simply put, Fisheries Qld created a compliance vacuum and "bad guys" moved in. Fisheries Qld then made up a b....s..t story about the Commonwealth Native Title Act stopping them from investigating complaints of illegal netting operations.

There were only seven (7) permits issued for TOs to undertake netting activities from 2015 to late 2019, in the CQ area.

However, there have been approx 80 complaints of illegal netting activities. Obviously, there's an awful amount of illegal netting going on.

I pushed and pushed for more than 12 months to get Qld Fisheries to issue complaint reference numbers to complainants. Police, Firies, Ambos, Council, Electricity authorities do it so why not Qld Fisheries?

Eventually, they surrendered and now will issue a complainant reference number but only if a complainant asks for it. The catch is that Fisheries refuse to tell anybody (or make it public) that they can ask.

Qld'ers reporting suspected illegal activities to Fisheries Qld TAKE NOTE. Ask for a complaint reference number.

THAT issue is with the Qld Ombudsman.

Without access to reference numbers, nobody can work out just what is happening in relation to reported offences or what Qld Fisheries is actually doing about them. Mostly, Qld Fisheries has been saying for

years that there was insufficient evidence provided and so they couldn't do anything. Basically, blame the complainant for not handing them the offender on a plate.

Numerous reports from local fishos is that Qld Fisheries has asked them to pick up nets as they find them at night and Fisheries will pick them up next day. In a pig's eye. Two (2) Qld Fisheries guys disappeared just to the south of here. But that's the sort of thing that's been going on here.

I think I was taken off Qld Fisheries christmas card list some time ago. Anybody who agrees with them (or sucks up to them) is made a member of the next consultative committee vacancy. Great for some egos.

Sacred sites. A place where TO ancestors used to fish with spears or other apparatus ISN'T a sacred site.

In 2006, a Fisheries court case from Rockhampton ended up bouncing between the local Magistrates Court, the District Court and eventually the Qld Supreme Court in a lengthy appeals process.

Eventually, Qld Fisheries lost the case and shortly after (2008), the Fisheries Act was changed to accommodate the Commonwealth Native Native Title Act.

In the decision summing up, the Supreme Court accepted that a traditional fishing method only had to have been in use by TO ancestors for three (three) generations.

So how long have mesh nets as we know them been around? How long have small dinghies with or without o/b motors been around? How long have sophisticated sounders been around?

More than 3 generations.

And THAT was the reason that the focus of the fisheries law moved to the PURPOSE of traditional fishing and AWAY from the METHODS of traditional fishing.

That court case that Fisheries lost that brought about the changes in Qld was " Qld Fisheries (Stevenson) vs Riccardo Yasso". Look it up if you wish. It was the game-changer of Fisheries laws here in

Something else that brought about the desire for change in Qld fisheries laws occurred in late 2006 at Rockhampton airport.

A very public slanging match over those eventual court findings broke out as two of the participants on opposing sides crossed paths at the airport..

Minister Schwarten was determined to have the fisheries laws changed after that very public squabble.........and he did so.