6 November 2023


The Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA) welcomes the strong and personal leadership of Qld Fisheries Minister, Mark Furner MP, in delivering real and measurable outcomes for the recreational fishing industry and the environment by removing the use of indiscriminate gill nets in North Queensland.

AFTA is the national peak body representing the whole of the recreational fishing industry throughout Australia. Our membership represents every aspect of recreational fishing from manufacturers, wholesale distributors, retail, media, and charter operations and as such we are connected to every person participating in recreational fishing.

It is without reservation that AFTA endorses and supports the Queensland Government’s action in the planned program of the removal of gill nets, ensuring the Great Barrier Reef is gillnet-free by mid-2027 in designated Queensland waters as stated on the 9th of June on the AFTA website.

The net-free zones include the northern third of the Great Barrier Reef and parts of the Gulf of Carpentaria, this will lead to protection and sustainability for threatened species that move between the Reef and the Gulf

The positive government actions include the:

  • Buy out and remove all N2 and N4 licences by 31 December 2023.
  • Buy out, remove and condition a limited number of N1 licences by 31 December 2023.
  • Phase out the remaining limited N1 licences to make the Reef gillnet free by 30 June 2027.
  • Use of residual funds for voluntary commercial fishing licence buy-out.
  • Establish a “net-free north” from Cape Bedford to the tip of Cape York.
  • Establish additional gillnet-free zones in the Gulf of Carpentaria and other locations of high ecological value.

The recreational fishing industry in Queensland has and always will work with the government on any apparatus changes that limit interactions with non-target species, turtles, dugongs, dolphins, and other marine life.

The Hon Bob Baldwin
Independent Chair on behalf of the
Australian Fishing Trade Association Board