Boyne barra bounty decimated

FOLLOWING recent reports of large scale professional netting of barramundi in QLD’s Boyne River comes news that increased commercial pressure has ended the river’s short-lived run of trophy barra. 

An influx of big barra into the river – courtesy of the overflowing of Awoonga Dam due to flooding – had created a boom for rec fishos. But now it seems the fun is over and many locals are blaming a concerted netting effort by professional fishermen for the demise of Boyne’s big barra. 

In the Gladstone Observer it was reported that anglers in the area over Easter struggled to catch a single barramundi in the river which appears to have had its newfound barra bounty decimated.  

“NOT one fish was caught,” John Walsh, owner of Boyne River Tourism Park, told the Observer.

“Some people have been going out there 30 years and they say it is the first time they have ever seen this.”

Walsh said 465 people stayed at his caravan park over Easter and no one managed to snare a barramundi in the Boyne River mouth. He blames professional fishermen for over-fishing during the past month.

“We’re not doing anything illegal,” said a local professional fisherman, who declined to be named.

“We have a right to be there. We pay really good money for our permits.”

He said Fisheries Queensland had been at the river mouth checking for law breakers.

Walsh told the Observer the netters were being “greedy” and he feared the drastic disappearance of the barramundi would damage local tourism.

“I believe net fishing can exist (sustainably) in the area, but over in the narrows,” he said.

Local fishing guide Jonny Mitchell said recent rain had caused the barramundi to move to new areas.

The professional fisherman said the barra being netted were farmed fish, so catching them did not damage wild stocks. He also expressed concern that professionals from other areas might be using illegal practices.

“They come here and they don’t care what they do,” he said.

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