Major changes to Queensland fisheries regulations

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Snapper

THE Palaszczuk Government has announced some major changes to Queensland fishing legislation effective September 1, 2019.

These include a number of changes to rebuild snapper, pearl perch and scallop stocks. Which are all considered depleted by the Queensland Department of Fisheries and Agriculture, with stock levels reportedly under the nationally recommended 20% biomass level.

Changes for recreational fishers include:

  • a new annual seasonal closure for snapper and pearl perch from 15 July to 15 August
  • increasing the size limit of pearl perch from 35cm to 38cm
  • removing extended charter catch limits for snapper and pearl perch
  • new boat limits for mud crab, prawns, snapper, black jewfish, barramundi, Spanish mackerel, shark, tropical rock lobster and sea cucumber, which hold the operator of the boat responsible for ensuring no more than 2 times the possession limit of these 9 priority black-market species is on board at any time (the boat limit does not apply to charter boats)
  • general possession limit of 20 fish for species without a prescribed possession limit, excluding some bait species
  • reducing the mud crab possession limit from 10 to 7
  • reducing pipi and mollusc limits from 50 to 30.

Changes for commercial fishers include:

  • a new annual seasonal closure for snapper and pearl perch from 15 July to 15 August
  • increasing the size limit of pearl perch from 35cm to 38cm
  • new total allowable commercial catch limits of 42 tonnes for snapper and 15 tonnes for pearl perch (there is currently no catch limit on these species)
  • expanding vessel tracking for remaining commercial fishing boats from 1 January 2020
  • extending the winter scallop closure by 1 month to open 1 December 2019
  • increasing the number of spanner crab traps from 45 to 75
  • small area closures to protect juvenile prawns in South East Queensland to improve profitability for trawl operators.

These changes have come after fishers rallied against them when the draft plans were announced earlier in the year.

Gold Coast Lucky Strike Charters operator, Ross McCubbin, told The Courier Mail there were some bearable changes, and he could understand the decision to decrease the pearl perch possession limit.

“I understand their decisions to decrease possession limits for mudcrabs and sand crabs as well,” McCubbin said.

“Over time the fishing community had changed for the better... A lot of fishermen have changed their minds and become custodians of the water." he said.

McCubbin said the ban on snapper possession would have a flow-on effect across the industry and for ocean life.

“To allow you to keep fishing for other fish and obviously releasing snapper if you catch it during the ban, it’s obviously a shark problem, sharks are getting worse and worse and following boats, if you’re out there and let every snapper go, they’re going to get eaten by sharks and that’s not good either.”

Sources: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, The Courier Mail

 

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