Fish­ers told to tidy up wa­ters

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RACHEL RI­LEY rachel. ri­ley@ news. com. au

CRAB­BERS in the North’s es­tu­ar­ies are be­ing warned not to aban­don or il­le­gally tam­per with fish­ing equip­ment af­ter al­most 150 pots were seized by the State Gov­ern­ment.

A to­tal of 144 unat­tended and aban­doned crab pots were re­moved from the Hinch­in­brook Chan­nel dur­ing a re­cent three- day op­er­a­tion by Queens­land Boating and Fish­eries Pa­trol. QBFP dis­trict of­fi­cer Rob Ibell said aban­doned fish­ing gear was a grow­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sue, with the num­bers of pots be­ing re­cov­ered on the rise.

Mr Ibell said some of the pots found had been re­ported stolen while oth­ers were re­turned to their right­ful own­ers.

“Most of the equip­ment, how­ever, was quite ob­vi­ously aban­doned or lost but was still catch­ing fish and crabs,” Mr Ibell said.

“This is re­ferred to as ‘ ghost fish­ing’ – the term for lost or aban­doned fish­ing gear that con­tin­ues to catch fish and other wildlife and it’s a ma­jor en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lem.

“Fish­ers need to make sure they re­move their gear from the wa­ter when they’ve fin­ished fish­ing so it doesn’t un- nec­es­sar­ily en­trap, in­jure wildlife.”

Mr Ibell said lost fish­ing gear – par­tic­u­larly pots and nets – also pre­sented a safety is­sue for boats.

Hinch­in­brook Shire Coun­cil­lor Wally Skin­ner said the marine sys­tems around the Hinch­in­brook Chan­nel were crit­i­cal to coun­cil’s recre­ation and tourism fo­cus and keep­ing them clean was a con­cern.

“There is no doubt it’s one the premier fish­ing spots in Queens­land and … I can only com­mend the depart­ment for this ini­tia­tive to im­prove the health and us­abil­ity of our wa­ter­ways,” Cr Skin­ner said.

“Un­for­tu­nately, many of the pots that have been found have prob­a­bly been in­ter­fered with by crocodiles. Crocodile num­bers con­tinue to grow and their pro­lif­er­a­tion poses a gen­uine con­cern for boat­ies and fish­ers.”

Mr Ibell said it was im­por­tant fish­ers cor­rectly marked their pots so lost gear could be iden­ti­fied.

“Many of the pots col­lected were un­marked so can’t be re­turned to their own­ers,” he said.

“Crab pots and dil­lies must be marked by an iden­ti­fy­ing tag bear­ing the sur­name and ad­dress of the owner.”

To re­port sus­pected lost or aban­doned gear and gear ob­struct­ing wa­ter­ways, con­tact Fish­watch on 1800 017 116.



Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.