Is it getting harder to reel in a good coral trout?
ARE coral trout numbers in trouble?
Certainly one local recreational fisherman told the Gazette last week that it seemed harder to catch them inshore and he was heading further and further out these days to find them. In fact commercial quotas for the live trade were cut by 30 per cent because commercial fishermen found it impossible to fill the TAC anyway.
Sean Stiff whose vessel is based out of Cooktown, says the fishery should be divided into three distinct zones: far northern, central, and southern, to far better respond to the different challenges of each region. Mr Stiff told ABC Radio this week that he would like to see greater clarity and information around what the various users of the zones were taking out of the resource.
The commercial fishers “record everything”, he said, “but we’d like to see what these other goups are catching. It’s not to give them a hard time but just to see what they are taking out of these areas.”
On the issue of whether the 30 per cent reduction in total allowable catch (TAC) would aid fish stocks, Mr Stiff said: “As fishermen we’re continually being impacted over time with . . . green zones, yellow zones, bio regions, whatever, and these regions are really starting to impact in how broad they are and they effectively cut our catch rate.
“There’s no flexibility within those zones; there’s no flexibility in terms of rotation of green zones, and I think everybody, even the public, recreational fishers, charter fishers, would like to see that happen.”
Fisherman Sean Stiff