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Bass season comes to a close

ANGLERS are reminded that the annual fishing closure for Australian bass and estuary perch from all rivers and estuaries in NSW commences on 1 June. Bass are also off limits throughout Queensland from 1 June until 31 August 2013.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Inland Senior Fisheries Manager, Cameron Westaway, said the zero bag limit protects the fish species while they spawn.

“An annual three month closure for Australian bass and estuary perch was introduced after feedback from the community during the review of recreational fishing rules in 2007,” Mr Westaway said.

“During the winter months these popular native sports fish species become vulnerable to overfishing as they form large groups and migrate to parts of estuaries with the right salinity to trigger spawning. This closure protects the fish species during this spawning period to ensure they can remain a popular catch with recreational fishers for many generations to come.”

Mr Westaway said the zero bag limit does not apply to Australian bass and estuary perch caught in freshwater impoundments and dams, as they do not breed in these areas.

“All fish in freshwater impoundments, like Glenbawn Dam and Glennies Creek Dam in the Hunter Valley, Brogo Dam near Bega and Clarrie Hall and Toonumbar Dams in the northeast are stocked fisheries, meaning anglers may continue to fish for these species in those waters all year round,” he said.

DPI Director of Fisheries Compliance, Glenn Tritton, said any Australian bass or estuary perch caught in rivers during the closure must be returned to the water immediately with the least possible harm.
“Anyone caught retaining Australian bass or estuary perch will be issued with a penalty notice or in more serious matters will face local court.”

A proposal to extend the closed season to ensure spawning protection for bass in all areas of the State can be found at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/recreational/info/review. Detailed information on fishing rules is at www.fisheries.nsw.gov.au.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol District Manager Rob McDonald said said an exception to the closed season for bass in Queensland applied in and from waterways upstream of:

Baroon Pocket, Bjelke-Peterson, Boondooma, Borumba, Cania, Cressbrook, Fred Haigh (Lake Monduran), Gordonbrook, Hinze, Lenthalls, Maroon, Moogerah, North Pine, Somerset, Waruma and Wivenhoe Dams, Claude Wharton and Jones Weirs, Isis Balancing Storage (Lake Gregory), Lake Dyer (Bill Gunn Dam) and Lake MacDonald.

“Anglers are reminded that size and possession limits still apply to Aussie bass taken from these waterways. The minimum size is 30cm and the possession limit is two,” Mr McDonald said.

“QBFP officers conduct regular patrols during closed seasons and those found doing the wrong thing are risking an on-the-spot fine of $440 and a maximum penalty of $110 000.”

For more information about recreational fishing rules or to download a copy of the Queensland Recreational Boating and Fishing Guide visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au.

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