Sec­ond fish­ing clo­sure looms

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

CO­RAL reef fin fish will be off lim­its from Mon­day next week dur­ing the sec­ond of two an­nual clo­sures to pro­tect them dur­ing spawn­ing sea­son.

The clo­sure will start im­me­di­ately af­ter mid­night on Mon­day and end im­me­di­ately be­fore mid­night on Fri­day.

Queens­land Boat­ing and Fish­eries Pa­trol Dis­trict Man­ager Tony Loader said the clo­sures are in place from the north­ern tip of Cape York to Bund­aberg in the south.

Mr Loader said the co­ral reef fin fish clo­sure ap­plied to com­mer­cial and recre­ational fish­ers, while char­ter fish­ers who meet qual­i­fy­ing cri­te­ria can ap­ply for an ex­emp­tion.

“Fish­ers caught do­ing the wrong thing dur­ing the co­ral reef fin fish clo­sure risk on-the-spot fines of $522 for recre­ational fish­ers or $1044 for com­mer­cial fish­ers, with a max­i­mum penalty in ex­cess of $130,000,” he said.

Mr Loader said it was im­por­tant that fish­ers were aware of which species are af­fected by the clo­sure and how to cor­rectly iden­tify them.

“Co­ral reef fin fish in­clude cods and groupers, em­per­ors, par­rot­fishes, sweet­lips, wrasses, co­ral trout, fusiliers, sur­geon fishes, trop­i­cal snap­pers and sea perches.

“A reef fish web guide is avail­able on­line at www.fish­eries.qld.gov.au and the Queens­land Fish­ing smart­phone app also in­cludes species im­ages to help with fish iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.”

Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber have been found to be the most ef­fec­tive months for clo­sures to pro­tect co­ral reef fin fish and the clo­sure dates change slightly each year de­pend­ing on moon phases.

For more in­for­ma­tion on Queens­land’s closed fish­ing sea­sons, visit www.fish­eries.qld.gov.au, call 13 25 23 or down­load the free Queens­land Fish­ing app from Ap­ple and Google app stores.

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