Is it get­ting harder to reel in a good co­ral trout?

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - SPORT - Shane Ni­chols

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

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