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Closures in QLD to protect reef fish

Fishing for popular Queensland reef fish such as coral trout, cod, emperors, sweetlip and others will be off limits for two periods soon, to protect these fish during spawning.

The first closure is from October 5 to 9, the second November 3 to 7.

Fisheries resource manager Dr Brigid Kerrigan said the closures protected fish at an important time in their life cycle.

“Two five-day closures a year over the next five years were announced last October,” she said.

“The closures coincide with the new moon when the majority of coral reef fin fish congregate to spawn.

Kerrigan says, “Latest research has shown that the stocks of the main target species are healthy so a decision was made last year to reduce the number of spawning closures from three to two. This is good news for both recreational and commercial fishers who now have more fishing days over the summer months.”

“Coral trout and other coral reef fin fish are more susceptible to concentrated fishing when spawning and these closures will ensure the sustainability of the fishery.

The closures only apply to coral trout, cods, emperors, parrotfish, sweetlips, tropical snappers and sea perch.

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol district officer Karl Roebuck said fishers need to remember that they should not take and possess coral reef fin fish species during the closure period.

“The closures are in place from the tip of Cape York in the north, to approximately Bundaberg in the south (the southern boundary is at latitude 24o50’S).

“The eastern boundary of the closure is the same as the eastern boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. A map can be found at www.deedi.qld.gov.au.”

Roebuck said any suspected illegal fishing within these closure periods should be reported to 1800 017 116. Anyone caught with a coral reef fin fish species during these closures faces a $400 on-the-spot fine or a court appearance.

 

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