The Stocked Impoundment Permit Scheme (SIP) concept continues to be supported by freshwater fishers in Queensland. Of course, there are also contributions from interstate travellers.
Even though about half of the permit sale period was in extreme drought conditions, overall permit sales continued to be maintained. Some 47,387 permits were issued comprising of 28,858 weekly, 14,880 yearly, and 3,649 yearly discounted. After administration costs and variations are taken in to account, $630,265 is to be allocated to stocking groups to enhance the fingerling stocking program.
The SIP Scheme requires fishers who fish in certain impoundments to purchase a permit before they go fishing. Funds raised by SIP scheme is used to purchase fish fingerlings to stock 33 impoundments throughout Queensland. Most stocked fish species will not naturally reproduce in impoundments, so this means that impoundments need to be stocked regularly.
SIP Funding Allocation
|Dam Areas||% Angler Preference||Total Allocation (excluding GST)|
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and Regional Economies, Tim Mulherin, released the Final Report of the Noosa Fish Health Investigation Taskforce.
The taskforce was set up in January 2009 to investigate a range of fish health problems at the Sunland Fish Hatchery, including fish deaths and abnormalities.
"It was alleged that these issues, and broader problems associated with the Noosa River, were caused by chemical spray drift from an adjoining macadamia farm," the Minister said.
Minister Mulherin said these types of investigations were complex and it was difficult to identify a specific cause.
"Overall, the investigation found that there was no definitive link between chemicals and the events that occurred at the hatchery or in the Noosa River.
"While agricultural chemicals may be a contributing factor in some of the events that were investigated, other factors like fish diseases and parasites, water quality, past environmental contaminants and hatchery management practices cannot be ruled out as the primary cause.
"The taskforce was not unanimous on the conclusions, but this is not unexpected given the size and complexity of the investigations that were undertaken," he said.
"However, taking this into account, I commissioned a further analysis of the report findings through independent experts.
"Toxikos, a toxicology consultancy firm based in Melbourne, was commissioned in late 2010 to provide advice on whether the final report conclusions were reasonable.
"Toxikos found that the report had reached a reasonable set of conclusions and agreed it is not possible to identify a chemical cause for the events at the Hatchery.
The final taskforce report makes 29 recommendations related to biosecurity practices on both the hatchery and macadamia farm, and monitoring of fish stocks in Noosa River. "The government will now work with the identified stakeholders to progress these recommendations," the Minister said.
"For government, the recommendations focus on clarifying roles and responsibilities, continued water monitoring at the hatchery, monitoring of bass stocks in the Noosa River and research.
"Now that the report is public, we will be working with industry and scientific organisations to design and fund a suitable research program into possible impacts of chemicals, or combinations of chemicals, on native fish. Spawning trials will also continue.
As from July 1, 2011, Stocked Impoundment Permit (SIP) fees have increased. Fisheries Queensland has advised that the increase is linked to CPI adjustments. The change has been implemented to bring SIPs in line with government policy on all other fees and charges. So it can now be expected that fees will change each year from here on.
Permit fees are now: Yearly $36.05, Weekly $7.20, and Concession $32.45.
On principal, FFSAQ is not necessarily troubled by the increase, but is certainly concerned by the inconvenience that permit issuing agencies will now be unnecessarily burdened by the need to incorporate small and insignificant cents in their reconciliations. Keeping in mind that these agencies collect fees at no charge as a contribution to the scheme. Their commitment is most appreciated.
The other aspect of the change that is not acceptable has been the total lack of consultation by government. The SIP Scheme is a joint partnership between Fisheries Queensland and the community, but FFSAQ, who acts on behalf of the community, was not notified of the change until a day or two before implementation.
It is now ten years since SIP was introduced and there has been no increase in fees since then. So a case for an increase could be facilitated and warranted, but surely the fee increase could have been rounded to the closest dollar.
Even though FFSAQ has not received a lot of comment from the public, there has been more support for the increase, rather than not. Some have suggested that the fee is too low. - Les Kowitz (FFSAQ)Reads: 4045