Bass seasons draw to a close

AUSTRALIAN bass and estuary perch are off limits to anglers in NSW from tomorrow through until September.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) is reminding anglers that the three-month ban on taking Australian bass and estuary perch from all rivers and estuaries in NSW will commence on 1 June.

NSW DPI Inland Senior Fisheries Manager, Cameron Westaway, said the zero bag limit was introduced after feedback from the community during the three-year review into recreational fishing rules.

"The zero bag limit is designed to protect these great native sports fish species while they spawn," Mr Westaway said.

"Both Australian bass and estuary perch form schools and migrate to parts of estuaries with the right salinity to trigger spawning.

"These important recreational fish are vulnerable to fishing when they are in large groups."

Mr Westaway said the three month ban did not close any waters to fishing and would not affect anglers fishing for other estuary species, such as bream or flathead.

"Any Australian bass or estuary perch caught must be immediately returned to the water with the least possible harm," Mr Westaway said.

"Fisheries officers will be increasing their patrols of bass and estuary perch waters to advise anglers on fishing rules and to enforce size and bag limits for other species.

"Anyone caught retaining Australian bass or estuary perch can be issued with an on the spot penalty of $500."

Mr Westaway said the zero bag limit does not apply to Australian bass and estuary perch caught in freshwater impoundments and dams, as they do not breed in these areas.

In Queensland, Australian bass are also off limits to anglers rom 1 June until the end of August 2012, except for in some dams and waterways.

Fisheries Queensland recreational fishing manager Tony Ham said the closure was vital to protecting bass during vulnerable times, such as their spawning season.

"While 1 June to 31 August is the closed season for Aussie bass throughout Queensland, the species can still be taken from some select dams on the Stocked Impoundment Permit Scheme (SIPS), and some waterways," he said.

Anglers can continue to fish for Australian bass in the 21 dams and waterways listed below:

Baroon Pocket Dam, Bjelke-Petersen Dam, Boondooma Dam, Borumba Dam, Cania Dam, Claude Wharton Weir, Cressbrook Dam, Fred Haigh Dam (Lake Monduran), Gordonbrook Dam, Hinze Dam, Isis Balancing Storage (Lake Gregory), Jones Weir, Lake Dyer, Lake MacDonald, Lenthalls Dam, Maroon Dam, Moogerah Dam, North Pine Dam (Lake Samsonvale), Somerset Dam, Wivenhoe Dam, Wuruma Dam.

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