NSW outlaws blue groper fishing

THE NSW government has banned recreational fishing for eastern blue groper.

Previously only off limits to spear fishers, the new ban will outlaw all recreational anglers targeting blue groper.

Anyone caught taking a blue groper by any methods will face a $500 penalty infringement notice, or a maximum court-imposed fine of $22,000 or imprisonment for six months.

This will increase to a $44,000 fine or imprisonment for 12 months (or both) for a second offence.

The SMH said the rules will be initially implemented for a 12-month trial period and the government will consult stakeholders and the broader community on longer-term changes to blue groper fishing.

OPINION: Concerning trend in ideological groper ban

The decision follows the widely publicised and illegal spearing of a blue groper off Cronulla.

According to the SMH, Agriculture (Fisheries) Minister Tara Moriarty said the changes would make clear the fish were to be admired, not targeted.

“With their bright-blue colour, alongside their placid and curious nature, there is little wonder why these beautiful big fish are so well-loved by our coastal communities,” said Moriarty .

Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW president Stan Konstantaras told Fishing World there is a complete lack of justification to stakeholder and no reason to have a 12 month ban apart from appeasing the animal welfare lobby and their emotive arguments.

“Groper are thriving. There are hundreds of kilometres of inaccessible parts of our coast where we cannot fish the rocks where groper are thriving,” said Konstantaras.

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party responds to Minister’s ban.

“This is fisheries management at its worse and the Minister cannot possibly justify this ban. She cannot possibly look fishers of NSW in the eye and tell them we have to do this. If we have a problem with localised user conflict or depletion then we resolve this at a local level.

“Most fishers would accept that outcome as a first step. This now opens the door to more NSW Government sanctioned attacks on recreational fishers and their families from the fringe animal welfare lobby,” said Konstantaras.

“This is the worst decision we have seen for years and it makes us wonder who are the NSW DPI managers pushing ideas into the Minister’s ear,“ said Konstantaras.

Fishing World contacted NSW DPI Fisheries for a comment.

More to follow.

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