Thursday, November 16, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Fishing Bans Across Region Constrict Local Fish Industry

The second annual coral reef fin fish closure occurred earlier this week, banning fisheries from catching coral reef fin fish, including cod, grouper, coral trout, and emperor.

Taking affect from November 10 to 14, from the northern tip of Cape York to south of Bundaberg, the ban joins the East Coast Spanish Mackerel and Barramundi, snapper and pearl perch, snapper crab, and tropical rock lobster season closures.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities, the Honourable Mark Furner MP explained that these closures are integral to replenishing fish numbers.

“Closed seasons are vital for ensuring fish stocks remain plentiful, not only for Queensland’s valuable commercial fishing industry, but also for future recreational anglers to enjoy,” Mr Furner said.

“October and November have been shown scientifically to be the most effective months for closures to protect coral reef fin fish,” he said.

“I thank fishers for their efforts to follow the rules and I hope you enjoy your time on the water.”

However, locally, these closures put pressure onto businesses and residents who rely on the fishing trade.

Kev Collins, owner and operator of Fish D’Vine Restaurant in Airlie Beach says that this season’s closures and the increasingly constricting quota reductions are harming local industry.

“It’s becoming harder and harder to supply local fish. Fish is our thing and we’re being increasingly denied, and it’s becoming difficult to meet expectations,” he said.

“I calculated that these closures equate to 25 million meals now out of the supply chain, which have to be substituted with other meats and protein, which is putting extra strain on other agriculture industries.”

Trevor Draper has been a commercial fisherman for over 50 years, and he believes these reductions in quotas and season closures are “ridiculous”.

“I’ve been fishing for over 50 years, and there’s more fish than I’ve ever seen, and there’s definitely a lot less fishermen out there. And the operation is becoming unviable. If half I’m pulling up has to be put back, it’s just not viable. It’s some bureaucratic bullshit,” he said.

“I don’t know what the agenda is, but it’s ridiculous. People want local catch, not imported stuff, and it is not happening, not here.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol said that “Most people are doing the right thing, and we want to get the word out to those anglers who may not be aware of the closure.”

“If you can just give these reef species a break for five short days, it can really help ensure fish stocks are sustainable for future generations.”

Fishing closures and unseemly quota reductions hindering local commercial fishers and industry.

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