IMPROVING the safety of commercial fishing is the aim of closer cooperation between maritime authorities and industry educators.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Queensland Water Police and Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol recently ran joint marine safety patrols in the Torres Strait and the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Those patrols targeted riverine and shoreline commercial fishing ahead of the 2020 Gulf Barramundi fishing season.

The on-water inspections ran from 30 January to 5 February and followed similar patrols back in April and August 2019.

AMSA operations north manager, Greg Witherall, said during the past year many of the operators had actively engaged with AMSA and attended free safety management workshops.


“Those workshops focused on the safety equipment needed for these operations, the importance of identifying the unique risks associated with them and providing mitigation strategies,” Mr Witherall said.

Mr Witherall said across the two patrols in 2019, one operator had 15 boats inspected and 195 deficiencies across their fleet.

When AMSA officers returned to the operator in January 2020, almost all deficiencies had been rectified.

“This is a good outcome and on top of that, we’ve had positive feedback from operators who say the joint inspections help reduce the regulatory burden on their day-to-day operations,” Mr Witherall said.